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li ti 

S. G. Heiskell, the Author. 




A Tennessean, 



1 91 S 


APR -I 1918 



Chapter Page 

I. Introduction 13-20 

II. Tennessee and Its Pioneers — The Wilderness 

Road and Daniel Boone 21-32 

III. Tennessee and Its Pioneer Governments 33-45 

IV. Knoxville and General James White, Its 

Founder 46-60 

V. Knoxville, Original Plan, History and News- 
papers 61-81 

VI. William Blount 82-101 

VII. John Donelson and the Donelsons 102-120 

VIII. Nashville 121-137 

IX. The Cherokees 138-158 

X. Tennessee — The Constitutions of 1796 and 1834 

and the Governors to the death of Jackson 159-169 

XI. John Sevier — Chronology . 170,171 

XII. John Sevier 172-188 

XIII. John Sevier and the Seviers __ 189-211 

XIV. John Sevier's Remains Brought Back to Ten- 

nessee — Mrs. Catherine Sherrill Sevier 212-229 

XV. Evan Shelby and the Shelbys 230-240 

XVI. King's Mountain and its Battle 241-259 

XVII. King's Mountain Years Afterward • _ 260-273 

v 'iIII. Sycamore Shoals and its Monument 274-283 

XIX. Andrew Jackson — Chronology... 284-287 

XX. Andrew Jackson 288-308 

XXI. Mrs. Andrew (Rachel Donelson) Jackson 309-328 

XXII. Andrew Jackson — The Natchez Expedition and 

the Affray with the Bentons 329-343 

( i ) 


Chapter Page 

XXIII. Andrew Jackson — FortMims, Talluschatches, Tal- 

ladega, Emuckfau, Enotochopco — Col. John Wil- 
liams, the 39th Regulars and Battle of Horse- 
Shoe Bend 344-372 

XXIV. Andrew Jackson — The Battle of New Orleans — 

Speech of Congressman John W. Gaines on the 

Battle .-- 373-400 

XXV. John Reid '. -. 401-421 

XXVI. Andrew Jackson — From the Battle of New Or- 
leans to Election as President 422-428 

XXVII. John Overton, John Coffee, W. B. Lewis, and 

A. S. Colyar 429-448 

XXVIII. Memphis 449-464 

XXIX. Sam Houston — Chronology 465,466 

XXX. Sam Houston 467-484 

XXXI. Jackson, Houston and Texas 485-511 

XXXII. James Knox Polk, Sarah Childress Polk — Chro- 
nology 512,513 

XXXIII. James Knox Polk and Wife, Sarah Childress 

Polk 514-533 

XXXIV. The Hermitage and President Roosevelt's Visit 

and Speech 534-553 

XXXV. Thr Hermitage and Relics of Jackson 554-578 

XXXVI. Andrew Jackson — Two Administrations as Presi- 
dent, Will, Sarcophagus and Death 579-597 

XXXVII. Andrew Jackson— Husband, Father and Friend-. 598-615 

XXXVIII. Andrew Jackson — Granddaughter, Mrs. Rachel 

Jackson Lawrence v.' 6-643 

XXXIX. Andrew Jackson — Unveiling of. Equestrian Statue 
at Nashville and Speech of Congressman John 

F. House 644-666 

XL. Battle of King's Mountain — Address by Bishop 

E. E. Hoss 667-687 

His echoing axe the settler swung 

Amid the sea-like solitude, 
And rushing, thundering, down were dung 

The Titans of the wood; 
Loud shrieked the eagle as he dashed 

From out his mossy nest, which crashed 
With its supporting bough, 


And the first sun-light, leaping, Hashed 
On the wolf's haunt below. 

Rude was the garb, and strong the frame 

Of him who plied his ceaseless toil: 
To form that garb, the wild-wood game 

Contributed their spoil; 
The soul that warmed that frame disdained 

The tinsel, gaud, and glare, that reigned 
Where men their crowds collect; 
The simple fur, untrimmed, unstained, 

This forest tamer decked. 

The paths which wound mid gorgeous trees, 

The streams whose bright lips kissed their flowers, 
The winds that swelled their harmonies 

Through those sun-hiding bowers, 
The temple vast — the green arcade, 

The nestling vale — the grassy glade, 
Dark cave and swampy lair — 
These scenes and sounds majestic, made 

His world and pleasures, there. 

—AlfordB. Street. 


I expect neither profit nor general fame by my writings ; 
I consider myself as having been amply repaid without 
either. — Coleridge, Preface First Edition of The Ancient 
Mariner and Christabel. 

This book had its origin in the belief that only a one- 
sided view of the life and character of Andrew Jackson has 
been given generally by those who have written about him. 
and that injustice has been done to Sam Houston and John 
Sevier in that neither of them has been accorded as high a 
place in history as their achievements merit. All three are 
closely connected with the early history of Tennessee, and 
Jackson and Sevier passed their lives in the State. Houston 
lived for years in the State, became District Attorney Gen- 
eral, Member of Congress and Governor, and went to Texas, 
became its liberator and died there. They were all great 
men, with great qualities and accomplished great achieve- 

The writers on Jackson always portray the bold, aggres- 
sive side of the man, his iron will, his fearlessness of dan- 
ger, his nerves that were never shaken no matter what the 
circumstances. They tell us of his great fight in which he 
crushed the Bank ; of his ringing challenge to the nullifiers 
of South Carolina ; of his masterly political victories where 
he defeated the combined influence of Webster, Clay and 
Calhoun ; and of his two great administrations generally. 
We are always shown the great, the heroic, the masterful, 
the ever victorious in him. Everybody admires his quali- 
ties and victories, and all Tennesseans are proud that he 
possessed the one and gained the others ; they are the things 
that make up the greatness of Old Hickory. 

( s ) 

6 Preface 

But there was another side that we rarely read about. 
Jackson was one of the tenderest and most affectionate men 
that ever lived, and with a strong, romantic strain in his 
make-up that made him a high-bred, knightly gentleman al- 
ways in his contact with women and children, and persons 
in poverty, sickness or distress. As an illustration, volumes 
are expressed in his act of taking the infant Indian boy 
lying on his dead mother's breast after the battle of Tal- 
luschatches, and sending him to the Hermitage, where he 
was named Lincoya, and there nourished and raised until 
his death at the age of eighteen ; and when President in not 
neglecting to ask in his letters home as to Lincoya's health 
and how he was getting along. Tennesseans and Americans 
are a home-loving people and will rank Jackson even higher 
when they come to consider the domestic and tender side of 
his character. He strongly wished the perpetuation of his 
name, and his warm affection for his adopted son and, wife, 
and his unremitting devotion to their children, exhibit qual- 
ities that make a universal appeal. For the real Jackson 
to be understood we have to study all sides of him. He was 
not only a national hero, but a man to whom home and its 
inmates were the most perfect solace and joy. 

Sam Houston made Texas possible as an American State, 
and added to the Republic as grand an area as was ever 
populated by any race. I have stated in one of the chapters 
that follow that if Houston had brought about the annexa- 
tion of Canada to the United States, as he did Texas, there 
would be statues and monuments to him all over the North. 
and he would long ago have been ranked with Washington 
as one of America's immortals, known, and his memory 
cherished and honored, nation-wide. His fame belongs to 
Tennessee as well as to Texas, and his services were great 
and far-reaching enough to render the whole Republic his 
debtor for all time. 


Preface 7 

Of John Sevier it is difficult to speak with that modera- 
tion and dignity becoming the treatment of a historical 
subject. For 74 years in an Alabama cotton field he lay 
buried, as though in death he had been outlawed from the 
State of which in the building in his lifetime he had been 
the chief cornerstone ; and in the merited odium of those 74 
years of disgraceful neglect, all Tennessee shared, and the 
City of Knoxville with the rest, until the city redeemed it- 
self, as far as it could, by according to the few bones rem- 
nant of a great man, a magnificent funeral and sepulchre 
in its courthouse yard, viewed by thousands standing with 
uncovered heads. Sevier and his deeds ought to be an 
ever-frequent and precious memory to every man and 
woman born or resident upon the soil of the State ; and my 
prediction is that as historical values become more just and 
accurate with the flow of the years, his name will blaze and 
shine on written pages with a glory like those of knights 
of old immortalized by Sir Walter Scott's pen and Alfred 
Tennyson's beautiful lyric lines ; and that some son of 
genius and song will one day come who will write Sevier's 
name in that Hall of Fame tenanted by Launcelot, Sir 
Galahad and Arthur, and those other grand spirits, of cen- 
turies gone by, whose lives illustrate the fine perfume and 
blossom of our human nature. 

I make no claim to any great originality of thought or 
treatment in this book; but I do claim that at least a start 
is here made toward a more fully rounded conception of 
Jackson's character, and a very much juster estimate of 
Houston and Sevier; and that at least one watchman has 
cried aloud from the housetops that the lives of the pioneers 
and early people of the State exhibit those primary quali- 
ties that are indispensable to true character, and to which 
this generation may well revert and profit much by adopt- 

8 Preface 

This book represents the unremitting labor of one year 
of myself and stenographers, and the help by sugges- 
tions and the lending of books, public documents, photo- 
graphs, old letters, daguerreotypes, and newspapers, by 
loyal friends whose good will has been a boon all through 
the undertaking, and to whom I beg to here offer every as- 
surance of sincere gratitude and profound respect. During 
the year the daily hours of work were much above the 
usual hours that men toil, and the undertaking under this 
high pressure might have become irksome and intolerable 
had it not been a labor of affection, and therefore a pleas- 
ure, to paint, however imperfectly, the beginnings and de- 
velopment of a State in which my family did their part, 
and to which every Tennessean can proudly point with well- 
founded patriotic pride. 

It will be noted that there are frequent and extended 
quotations throughout the book which some may consider 
excessive and improper; but in my view, apt, full and re- 
liable quotations are indispensable to any historical work 
for several reasons. 

First, they vary and enliven the current of the text and 
assure the reader that he is getting the exact sentiment or 
opinion of the author quoted. 

Second, it is ethical to give the words literally of an- 
other writer, and not to acquire his thought or expression 
by changing a word or phrase here and there, or by trans- 
posing and slightly varying sentences, thereby committing, 
to all intents and purposes, literary larceny. 

Third, it adds to the weight of the book, whatever the 
eminence or learning of the author doing the quoting, and 
gives a composite mental picture of the subject treated that 
to the reader is assuring, satisfying, and illuminating. 

I have tried to find and to quote for every event treated 
the testimony of an eye-witness, or person of personal 

Preface 9 

knowledge ; and if none such was to be found, then evidence 
of a contemporary of the event; and if no contemporary 
could be found, then the nearest authority in time, whether 
personal or written; and if evidence from this source also 
failed then by the oldest tradition. 

As an illustration of the value of an eye-witness, all of 
the histories tell of the uniform courtesy of Sam Houston, 
and this, of course, every one is glad to know; but how 
much more strongly are we impressed that Houston was 
naturally a courteous gentleman when we read Colonel John 
B. Brownlow's account, in Chapter XXXI, of Houston's 
good breeding, in his reception of Colonel Brownlow when 
a boy of only fourteen years of age, he called on the Senator 
at the old Lamar House in Knoxville to pay his respects. 

Again, the histories generally tell about the funeral of 
Mrs. Andrew Jackson, and give accounts of it, but what a 
world of difference between our appreciation of such ac- 
counts and that of Governor Henry A. Wise, quoted in 
Chapter XXI, who was present, saw everything that was 
done, and gives us a fully satisfying statement of what he 
saw; again, when Colonel Thomas H. Benton, quoted in 
Chapter XXII, tells of his personal knowledge of the do- 
mestic life at the Hermitage of Jackson's personal quali- 
ties, and of the devotion of General and Mrs. Jackson to 
each other, what more could one want! 

My thanks are tendered to, 

Col. John B. Brownlow; Col. Noble Smithson; Calvin M. 
McClung, great-grandson and Mrs. Lucy G. Rodgers, great- 
granddaughter of Gen. James White, the founder of Knox- 
ville; Lloyd Branson; Dr. A. P. White, great-grandson of 
Gen. James W T hite ; Miss Catherine F. Heiskell for the map 
of the Little Tennessee River and Cherokee towns ; Mrs. Amy 
Jackson, widow of Col. Andrew Jackson the third; Frank 
L. Meek, great-grandson of John Sevier; Seldon R. Nelson, 

10 Preface 

great-nephew of John Sevier; J. U. Kirby, who owns the 
Sevier country home six miles from Knoxville; Miss Eliz- 
abeth Avery for the facsimile of Jackson's challenge to Col. 
Waightstill Avery, of Knoxville; 

Hon. John Wesley Gaines ; President John H. DeWitt, of 
the Tennessee Historical Society ; Mrs. Rachel Jackson Law- 
rence, grand-daughter of Andrew Jackson ; Mrs. Nina Reid 
Hunter, great-granddaughter of Major John Reid, Jack- 
son's aid and military secretary; Mrs. Bettie Donelson, 
regent of the Ladies' Hermitage Association of Nashville ; 

Miss Mary Rothrock, librarian, Miss Mary Nelson and 
Mrs. Inez Deaderick, assistants of the Lawson-McGhee Li- 
brary of Knoxville ; the Congressional Library at Washing- 
ton ; the Carnegie Library at Nashville ; the Cossitt Library 
at Memphis; 

R. B. Rogan; Mrs. R. B. Rogan, of Rogersville, Tennes- 
see, Mrs. Blanche Laffitte, of Bristol, Tennessee, daughters, 
and Mrs. T. J. Wallace, of Franklin, Tennessee, grand- 
daughter, of Major Frederick S. Heiskell; Gen. J. C. J. 
Williams, grandson of Col. John W T illiams, of the 39th Reg- 
ulars at the Battle of the Horseshoe, of Huntsville, Tennes- 
see; Major Henry Crumbliss, of Kingston, Tennessee; Miss 
Margaret Gist, Historian of King's Mountain Chapter D. 
A. R., York, South Carolina; Robert Dyas, grandson of 
Gen. John Coffee, of Collinswood, Tennessee; Dr. Thomas 
M. Owen, Director Department of Archives and History 
of the State of Alabama, Montgomery; Miss Zella Arm- 
strong, of Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

S. G. Heiskell. 

Knoxville, Tennessee, March 1, 1918. 


Life of Jackson (3 Vols.) James Parton. 

Life and Times of Jackson (2 Vols.) A. S. Colyar. 

Life of Andrew Jackson (2 Vols.) Tohn Spencer Basset. 

History of Andrew Jackson (2 Vols.) Augustus C. Buell. 

Life and Times of Andrew Jackson (1 Vol.) Thomas E. Watson. 

Life of Andrew Jackson (1 Vol.) Tohn Reid and John Henry Eaton. 

Life of Andrew Jackson (1 Vol.) Tohn S. Jenkins. 

Biography of Andrew Jackson (1 Vol.) Philo A. Goodwin. 

The True Andrew Jackson (1 Vol.) Cyrus Townsend Brady. 

Jacksonian Epoch (1 Vol.) Charles H. Peck. 

Monument to Jackson (1 Vol.) B. M. Dusenbery. 

Life of Thomas H. Benton (1 Vol.) Theodore Roosevelt. 

Life of James Monroe (1 Vol.) Daniel C. Oilman. 

Life of Martin Van Buren (1 Vol.) Edward M. Shepard. 

Life of Sam Houston (1 Vol.) C. Edicards Lester. 

Sam Houston and the War of Independance in Texas 

(1 Vol.) Alfred M. Williams. 

The True George Washington (1 Vol.) Paul Leicester Ford. 

The True Abraham Lincoln (1 Vol.) William Eleroy Curtis. 

Life of John Sevier (1 Vol.) Tames H. Gilmore. 

Rear Guard of the Revolution (1 Vol.) Tames H. Gilmore. 

Advance Guard of Western Civilization (1 Vol.) Tames H. Gilmore. 

Seven Decades of the Union (1 Vol.) Henry A. Wise. 

Horse Shoe Robinson (1 Vol.) Tohn T. Kennedy. 

Life of Daniel Boone (1 Vol.) Cecil B. Hartley. 

Annals of Tennessee to 1800 (1 Vol.) T. G. M. Ramsey. 

History of Tennessee to 1896 (1 Vol.) Tohn Haywood. 

History of Tennessee (1 Vol.) Tames Phelan. 

History of Tennessee (1 Vol.) Good speed Publishing Co. 

History of Tennessee and Tennesseans (8 Vols.) Hale and Merritt. 

Notable Men of Tennessee (1 Vol.) 0. P. Temple. 

Studies, Military and Diplomatic (1 Vol.) Charles Francis Adams. 

The Peninsular War (5 Vols.) W. F. P. Napier. 

King's Mountain and Its Heroes (1 Vol.) Lyman' C. Draper. 

Anecdotes of Public Men (1 Vol.) Tohn W. Forney. 

Proceedings of the Bar Association of Tennessee (1 Vol.) 

Reports of the United States Bureau of Ethnology (1 Vol.) 

Speeches on the Removal of the Indians in Congress April and May, 1830, 

(1 Vol.) 

The Cherokee Indians (1 Vol.) Thomas Valentine Parker. 

Pioneer Women of the West (1 Vol.) Mrs. E. F. Ellet. 

( 11 ) 

12 Authorities 

The Cherokees in Pre-Columbian Times (1 Vol.) Prof. Cyrus Thomas. 

Antiquities of Tennessee (1 Vol.) Gates P. Thurston. 

American Historical Magazine (9 Vols.) 
American Historical Review (1 Vol.) 
Library of Southern Literature (16 Vols.) 
World's Best Orations (10 Vols.) 

Winning of the West (6 Vols.) Theodore Roosevelt 

Perley's Reminiscences (2 Vols.) Ben Perley Poore. 

Old Times in Tennessee (1 Vol.) Toe C. Guild. 

Hugh Lawson White (1 Vol.) Nancy N. Scott. 

Lives and Graves of Our Presidents (1 Vol.) G. S. Weaver. 

Preservation of the Hermitage (1 Vol.) Mary C. Dorris. 

History of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina 

(1 Vol.) Daniel A. Tompkins. 

History of Watauga County, North Carolina (1 Vol.). .John Preston Arthur. 
Biographical Congressional Directory, 1774-1911 (1 Vol.) 

Messages of the Presidents of the United States Richardson' s Edition. 

The History of Memphis (1 Vol.) J. M. Keating. 

History of Davidson County, Tennessee (1 Vol.) W. W. Clayton. 

Early History of Memphis (1 Vol.) Tames D. Davis. 

History of Knoxville (1 Vol.) William Rule. 

The Annexation of Texas (1 Vol.) Justin H. Smith. 

Sarah Childress Polk (1 Vol.) Anson Nelson. 

History of Pioneer Kentucky (1 Vol.) 5. 5. Cotterill. 

Life of William Blount (1 Vol.) Marcus J. Wright. 

Bound Volumes of the Knoxville 

Register , Frederick S. Heiskell and Hugh Brown. 

Original Letters of Andrew Jackson, loaned by the Jackson and Donelson 

Speeches of Members of Congress at Various Times in Congressional Record. 
Old Files of the Nashville American, Nashville Tennessean and Knoxville 

Journal and Tribune. 

Andrew Jackson and Early 
Tennessee History 



If, in the long ago, before the white man's foot had 
pressed the soil of Tennessee, a Cherokee chief, conscious of 
the supremacy of his nation, had stood upon the lofty summit 
of the Great Smoky Mountains — the eastern border of the 
State — and turned his eyes westward toward the Mississippi 
Eiver, he would have gazed upon an inspiring panorama of 
forest and plain and rolling rivers and grand mountains and 
lovely valleys, such as is surpassed nowhere on this earth. 
He would have seen a land known only to a red man's eyes, 
and in the exultation of pride in his Cherokee blood and the 
prowess of his Cherokee nation, could have exclaimed, "Be- 
hold the land of my tribe and kindred, the happy hunting 
ground of my people given by the Great Spirit forever!" 
Had the question been asked him how long the Cherokees 
had owned this fair land, he would have replied that the sun 
never rose on a day that this land was not their land, their 
very own. 

If the Great Spirit had been supremely generous in the 
land given to the chief and his kindred, that same Great 
Spirit had also been kind in not revealing to him that buried 
upon this happy hunting ground were evidences of a skill 

B ( 13 ) 

14 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

and culture better than his, remains of a race higher than 
his race, that had passed away "and left no rack behind," 
except speechless relics in mounds and graves and burial 
grounds — men who had lived- and burned out life's candles 
centuries before the Cherokee saw the light of day. They 
were the mound builders whose era we are totally unable to 

But the Great Spirit was extremely kind to the Cherokee 
Chief in another way. It held back from him the power to 
read futurity, to pierce the veil that hides the hereafter from 
living sons and daughters of men, and did not permit him to 
foresee that the day would come when this would be his hunt- 
ing ground no longer, when he would be forced to wander 
far away across the Great River, and when the pride of the 
Cherokee Nation would be humbled in the dust by a race 
whose white skin he had never seen, or even been told 

Sam Houston was the red man's friend as long as he 
lived, and his friendship never wavered or changed. 

C. Edwards Lester, who was a friend of Houston when 
a Senator in Congress from Texas, and who afterwards 
wrote Houston's Biography, • tells an interesting story of 
some of the Senator's friends assembling in his rooms in 
Washington, when the Senator asked if someone present 
could not recite a part of Charles Sprague's Oration over the 
fading away of the red man, delivered on the reception of 
Lafayette, at Boston. One of the assembly recited the part, 
and Lester says he will never forget the enthusiasm it 
aroused. This is the part of the oration recited : 


"Not many generations ago, where you now sit, circled 
with all that exalts and embellishes civilized life, the rank 
thistle nodded in the wind, and the wild fox dug his hole 
unscared. Here lived and loved another race of beings. 
Beneath the same sun that rolls over your heads the Indian 
hunter pursued the panting deer ; gazing on the same moon 
that smiles for you, the Indian lover wooed his dusky mate. 
Here the wigwam blaze beamed on the tender and help- 
less, the council-fire glared on the wise and daring. Now 
they dipped their noble limbs in your sedgy lakes, and now 
they paddled the light canoe along your rocky shores. Here 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 15 

they warred; the echoing whoop, the bloody grapple, the 
defying death song, all were here ; and when the tiger strife 
was over, here curled the smoke of peace. Here, too, they 
worshiped; and from many a dark bosom went up a pure 
prayer to the Great Spirit. He had not written His laws 
for them on tables of stone, but He had traced them on the 
tables of their hearts. The poor child of Nature knew not 
the God of revelation, but the God of the universe he 
acknowledged in everything around. He beheld him in the 
star that sank in beauty behind his lonely dwelling, in the 
sacred orb that flamed on him from His mid-day throne, in 
the flower that snapped in the morning breeze, in the lofty 
pine that defied a thousand whirlwinds ; in the timid warbler 
that never left its native grove, in the fearless eagle, whose 
untiring pinion was wet in the clouds; in the worm that 
crawled at his feet, and in his own matchless form, glowing 
with a spark of that light, to whose mysterious source he 
bent in humble though blind adoration. 

"And all this passed away. Across the ocean came a 
pilgrim bark bearing the seeds of life and death. The 
former were sown for you, the latter sprang up in the path 
of the simple native. Two hundred years have changed 
the character of a great continent, and blotted forever from 
its face a whole, peculiar people. Art has usurped the bow- 
ers of nature, and the anointed children of education have 
been too powerful for the tribes of the ignorant. Here 
and there a stricken few remain, but how unlike their bold, 
untamed, untamable progenitors.! The Indian of falcon 
glance and lion bearing, the theme of the touching ballad, 
the hero of the pathetic tale, is gone ! and his degraded off- 
spring crawl upon the soil where he walked in majesty, to 
remind us how miserable is man when the foot of the con- 
queror is on his neck. 

"As a race they have withered from the land. Their 
arrows are broken, thejr springs are dried up, their cabins 
are in the dust. Their council-fire has long since gone out 
on the shore, and their war-cry is fast dying out to the un- 
trodden West. Slowly and sadly they climb the distant 
mountains, and read their doom in the setting sun. They 
are shrinking before the mighty tide which is pressing them 
away; they soon must hear the roar of the last wave, which 
will settle over them forever. Ages hence the inquisitive 
white man, as he stands by some growing city, will ponder 
on the structure of their undisturbed remains, and won- 
der to what manner of person they belonged. They will live 
only in the songs and chronicles of their exterminators. 
Let these be faithful to their rude virtues as men, and pay 
due tribute to their unhappy fate as a people." 

16 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Unraveling the history of the men and women who in- 
habited Tennessee before the Cherokee is a problem as fas- 
cinating as it is mysterious, and as difficult as prehistoric 
problems always are, but into this our limits will not permit 
us to enter. Why this buried race should have lived and 
passed into the night of oblivion and left no word behind, to 
be succeeded by a race not their equal, we cannot know. They 
died and took the cause and method of their extermination 
with them. For what purpose w T ere they permitted to live? 
This is just one of those mysteries connected all down the 
drifting years with the lives of men that are always pon- 
dered but never solved. It is only another form of the same 
old questions — Whence, Wherefore, Whither? 

If our Cherokee chief had been permitted to reflect on 
the life and destiny of those who w r ere dead and gone before 
him, he would not have been able, for want of mental train- 
ing, to coin his thoughts into the words of Tennyson, but 
he would still have had those thoughts : 

"But what am I? 
An infant crying in the night, 
An infant crying for the light, 
And with no language but a cry." 

No son of man, whether white or black or red or yellow or 
brown, has ever lived and played his little part across the 
stage of action, and then departed into the limbo of the un- 
numbered dead, but has consciously or unconsciously, ex- 
pressly or in vague, mute yearnings, not co-ordinated or put 
in words, echoed Tennyson's lines? Those lines are human- 
ity's universal and never ending cry, men's wail for light 
and knowledge. It is the gloom that prompts these un- 
happy lines, the despair that forces the sorrowing wail from 
the helpless lips of men, that cause them to 

"Walk thoughtful on the solemn silent shore 
Of that vast ocean they must sail so soon." 

If instead of the panorama that was unveiled before him 
another had been presented to this chief's gaze — that of a 
great State with its teeming thousands of people, its cities, 
its commerce, its buildings, its railroads, its everything that 
makes up the State of Tennessee — his untutored mind would 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 1 7 

have been staggered and pitiful and impotent, and his prayer 
would have gone up to the Great Spirit to tell him what it 
all meant. The great State which was to arise upon the 
crushed prowess of the Cherokee Nation and to follow its 
immolation upon the altar of human progress, could not have 
been fathomed by him ; and it is to chronicle how the founda- 
tions of that State were laid, and of the grand character of 
those who did the building, that this book is written. 

The men who laid the foundations of Tennessee were 
not only physically fearless but morally brave. 

In their personal and social contact with each other they 
were frank, truthful, candid and honest, and the times af- 
forded no tolerance of a physical coward; their everyday 
lives permitted no polite deception or social doubledealing. 
They stood for none of that most dangerous form of false- 
hood — the telling of half-truths. Above everything, the 
times forced every man to assume full responsibility for all 
his words and acts, and did not countenance his escaping 
moral, legal, or physical responsibility, by attributing his 
wrongful deeds to the influence of others. As a result of this 
standard, moral cowardice was never or rarely found. The 
pioneer did not know, and had no desire to learn, the art of 
laying his failings and weaknesses upon the shoulders of 
some one else. There was no lack of kindliness, liberality 
and charity, but in no sense were these qualities permitted 
to divest a man of full individual responsibility. Every man 
was expected to do, and did do, his full duty. The times did 
not produce or respect weaklings, milk-sops or invertebrates. 
Every effort of legislation, the force of public opinion and 
the power of personal influence, tended to fasten in the mind 
of, all the conviction that each must stand for himself, 
whether his deeds were committed singly or in connection 
with other men ; and that conditions and environment would 
not be permitted to exculpate him and incriminate others 
connected with him. To inculcate any other principle would 
be to destroy the foundation upon which government rests, 
to inject a fatal weakness into the moral fiber of people, to 
render men mere weaklings, and to create hypocrites, char- 
latans and dissemblers. In looking back over the careers of 
the men who laid the foundations of Tennessee, and studying 

1 8 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

their lives and characters, we can easily see that the conserv- 
ation and perpetuation of their type of manhood and char- 
acter is desirable not only for Tennessee but for all the 
world. As civilization progresses and wealth increases and 
society becomes more highly organized, there is a tendency 
to forget the grand primary qualities of the Tennessee pio- 
neer. The old time virtues are the grand virtues of human 
character — the virtues of simplicity, candor, kindliness, 
frankness, courage and truthfulness. 

The founders of Tennessee wore pioneer clothes and lived 
in poor houses ; they were not highly educated and generally 
were not polished in their manners; but in those qualities 
that have conserved and sustained the best there is in human 
character in all ages, qualities that imperatively command 
respect, and which all men believe in and endorse, whether 
their lives coincide with them or not, qualities to which we 
are willing to risk our lives, our fortunes and our sacred 
honor, they were chiefs among the grand actors of the world. 
They were totally unconscious that they were heroes and 
heroines ; it seems never to have occurred to them that they 
were making a new and historical departure in the new life 
of America; that some day everything they did and said 
would be of interest not only to their descendants, but to the 
whole country. The settlement of Tennessee and Kentucky 
was different from any other pioneer movement in America, 
in that the settlers received no help from any outside source ; 
the movement had to conquer or die ; the actors must win of 
their own prowess; there was no compromise; white civil- 
ization was in daily and deadly combat with the red man's 
savagery, and both could not occupy the soil at the same 

The grand simple characters of the men and women of 
that early day ought to be taught in every school of Tennes- 
see, and we may be permitted to express the hope that the 
time is not far distant when the Legislature of the State will 
command by statute that Tennessee history shall be made a 
major study in every Tennessee school, and shall be taught 
by the most competent instructors. Candor, loyalty to 
truth, uprightness of principle, simplicity of life, firm- 
ness of conviction, thorough personal responsibility, and 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 19 

contempt for doubledealing, are all the finest basic elements 
of character, and are all exemplified in the early records of 
the State, and every Tennessee child should know them. 

The State has not been poor in its production of fine 
characters and great men. The chapters of this book that 
follow tell of some of the Tennesseans who were great not 
only in the State but in the Nation. There are scores of 
.others entitled to be put on Fame's roll-call and their names 
acclaimed as the years go by. There are hundreds who 
were great and fine in character, and who would have been 
great in accomplishment had conditions presented them- 
selves. There have been men of this last type living all 
through the history of this State. Tennessee has produced 
men whose manly and moral make-up is so well-rounded, so 
chivalrous, so fine in principle, that we involuntarily turn 
to them as the ideals of practical life — men who are not nar- 
row in outlook, or small in human sympathy, or Puritanical 
in profession, or insincere in practice, but big, intellectual, 
broad, chivalrous and fearless men, who meet foursquare 
every responsibility that comes, and evade nothing that 'it 
is their duty to shoulder or to face. 

Different nations have varying notions of the public 
service that is greatest. England accepts, generally, mili- 
tary and naval service, and. her three grandest monuments 
are to men of this type — to Wellington for the victory at 
Waterloo, to Nelson for Trafalgar, to Marlboro for Blen- 
heim. Tennessee has erected no monuments. She has not 
seen fit to honor her great men in that way. She has given 
the names of citizens to more than a third of the counties 
in the State and so memorialized them. In her affections 
she hands the laurel wreath to Andrew Jackson the soldier 
and to James K. Polk the civilian ; she crowns Farragut the 
sailor and Andrew Johnson the defender of the Constitution ; 
she acclaims Isham G. Harris a great Senator and N. B. 
Forrest a great cavalry leader ; she writes clown Commodore 
Maury as a great geographer of the sea, William T. Haskell 
as greatest among her orators, John Sevier as the chief 
builder of the State, Sam Houston as an Ajax among lead- 
ers, and in devoted affection she hails Thomas F. Gailor, 
Protestant Episcopal Bishop of the State, as one who illus- 

20 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

trates intellectual achievement at its loftiest and eloquence 
at its golden period among men. 

In fine well-rounded character, admirable in every part, 
among others of her great sons, Tennessee can point to 
James D. Porter, twentieth Governor of the State, who 
served as a Circuit Judge; two terms as Governor; Assist- 
ant Secretary of State under President Cleveland's sec- 
ond administration; United States Minister to Chili; Pres- 
ident of the Peabody College for Teachers, and President 
of the Tennessee Historical Society. It may be that there 
are Tennesseeans whose records would be considered 
greater, but from a personal acquaintance of many years 
the author submits that there never was a Tennessee char- 
acter that was finer. Every quality that goes to make up 
fine manhood was his. He loved his State and unflinchingly 
performed every duty; despised the very thought of in- 
sincerity ; lived upon the platform that no man was perfect ; 
and held a broad charity for the failings of his fellowman. 
When he died a life went out that could well be set up for 
other Tennesseans to emulate. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 2 1 



When William Bean planted his cabin in 1769 on Boone's 
Creek near its junction with the Watauga River, he never 
dreamed that his humble habitation was to become a land- 
mark in the future State of Tennessee that would never 
fade from the record of the State, nor that he as the actual 
first settler of the State would be as immortal as the State 
itself. That cabin was planted one hundred and forty-eight 
years ago, and today, Tennessee with a population of two 
and a quarter millions, teaches its school-children the story 
of William Bean and his cabin, and gives him that lofty 
place in its annals that is ever accorded to first settlers 
of cities and States. If some genius of the brush would go 
to Boone's Creek, find the exact spot of that historical cabin, 
and put on canvas in colors that would not dim a picture of 
it and its location, and hang it in the Capitol of Tennessee, 
what an inspiration it would be to all Tennesseans now and 
to all that may come hereafter ! What an appeal that dumb 
canvas would make to every eye that gazed upon it! With 
what intense interest Tennesseans would look, and in its 
humble construction, see a reflection of more than a century 
and a half of State history, with its story of the slow but 
grand work of the pioneers — their courage, their self-denial, 
their suffering, and, in hundreds of cases, their death! If 
from his abode in the undiscovered country William Bean 
can survey the commonwealth of Tennessee, with its every 
mark of modern life and its stately march keeping step with 
the progress of the years, his whole being must glow with 
exultation and proclaim that he was the corner-stone of it 
all, he the original spring that put it all in motion! We 
would like to know more about him, how he looked, what 
brought him to the Watauga, who constituted his family, 
when he died and where he was buried. About all that we 
know is that he w r as born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, 

22 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

and was a member of the Council of Thirteen of the Wa- 
tauga Association, Captain of a Company of Whig Regu- 
lators in 1778, of which company John, George and Edmund 
Bean were members, but their relation to him we do not 
know ; captain of a company of Washington County Militia 
in 1780, and appears in the Indian Wars now and then, in 
one of which his wife was captured and taken aw r ay by the 
Indians, but was ransomed and brought home after a time. 
Boone called on him on one of his tr-ips across the State to 
reach Kentucky, and Robertson made his acquaintance when 
he came to the Watauga in 1770. His son Russell was the 
first child with a white skin born in Tennessee. 

Oh, thou lonely settler in the wilderness of primeval 
Tennessee, thou unkempt backwoodsman with the flintlock 
rifle, and heart and nerve of Achilles ! May every son and 
daughter of the State track thy footsteps and thy virtues, 
and never forget that in the manhood and character of thy 
type and class, are to be found the very best that history 
accords to life in any age of the world ! May the time come 
when to thee as the representative of the pioneers of Ten- 
nessee, a monument be erected upon Capitol Hill in the 
city of Nashville, by which all coming generations may be 
taught the qualities that redeemed the State from the red 
man and the wilderness, and fixed it on the flag as a bright 
star in the constellation of states ! It was thou, and those like 
thee, stalwart torch-bearers in the onward rush of life and 
time and men, that made possible 

"The immortal league of love that binds 
Our fair broad empire, state with state." 

The modern world is so far removed in time from pio- 
neer days, and is so different, that we are prone to forget 
their virtues and grand achievements. We have grown so 
fast and are now so big and so many things have taken 
place on a great scale since our early history, that it seems 
we haven't time even to look back and give a thought to the 
memory of those whose labors made Tennessee and the 
United States possible. Since then we have had the war 
of 1846 with Mexico, and the great war between the States 
in 1861, the war with Spain in 1898, and the present world- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee; History 23 

wide w r ar, 1917, with all Europe blazing for nearly four 
years — all of which obscure the deeds and memories of our 
ancestors and make us forget. 

"They wrought in sad sincerity, 
They builded better than they knew, 
The conscious stones to beauty grew." 

We live in a different world, where inventions are so 
varied, so perfect and so marvelous ; where every man can 
know and do so many things and live so fast; where life is 
constantly changing and made new and strange and won- 
derful, that we have no time — at least we do not take the 
time — to study the hard and rugged road traveled by those 
who went before us, and who built for us and whose heirs 
we are; but new and wonderful as development has made 
the world, great and glorious as are our modern ways com- 
pared with pioneer ways, lofty as is our dominion over Na- 
ture and Nature's powers, the fact remains that human na- 
ture is always the same, and that the same hopes, ambitions, 
loves, aspirations, hatreds, charities, and jealousies that 
animated the men and women of fifty, a hun- 
dred, two hundred, five hundred, a thousand, or five 
thousand years ago, animate and move them now. Our ac- 
tions may differ in particulars and methods may vary, en- 
vironment may change our daily routine, or, generally, our 
civilization may not be the same, but the essential elements, 
the structural characteristics of men and women, are the 

Conditions in pioneer life made the development of the 
individual more perfect and more strenuous than ours ; that 
life stretched to the limit every faculty, capability and 
power wrapped up by Nature in the body of a man — it 
brought out ail that Nature put there. The individual 
was the unit of progress, and the great source 
of progress, and as he developed individually the com- 
munity developed. The life of the time with a wilderness 
of nature and savagery surrounding it, evolved to the utmost 
in the individual his eyesight, his hearing, his touch, his 
sense of smell, his fleetness of foot, his courage, the steadi- 
ness' of his nerves in the presence of danger, his endurance 
of heat, cold and hunger, his capacity to stand suffering 

24 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

from knife cuts or gunshot wounds; or, in fine, to live the 
life of a pioneer. Physical courage was the supreme test 
of a man. It was not a time or place for cowards or weak- 
lings, nor was it a time or place for the hypocrite, the trick- 
ster or the dissembler ; men must be real men and genuine 
through and through. They lived near to Nature's heart 
and Nature is never false, and such living made the Heroic 
Age in the history not only of Tennessee but in every age 
and land. It made Homer sing of Ajax, Ulysses, Agamem- 
non, Achilles and Hector ; Virgil sing of Aeneas and his wan- 
dering travels ; the Middle Ages to love the name of Arthur 
and his Knights, and all the ages to conjure up in poetry, 
fiction and song tales of the grand things there always are 
in a physically perfect and fearless man. 


Col. Thomas H. Benton lived in Tennessee and entered 
the army and served in the wars under Jackson, and was 
acquainted by actual observation with the early people of 
the State, and in a speech in the United States Senate on 
February 2, 1830, he made a most eloquent and touching 
appeal in regard to the sufferings and endurance of the 
people of Tennessee and Kentucky in the days when they 
were compelled to defend themselves at all times and in their 
own ways. He said: 

"The history of twelve years' suffering in Tennessee, 
from 1780 to 1792, when the inhabitants succeeded in con- 
quering peace without the aid of Federal troops; and of 
sixteen years' carnage in Kentucky, from 1774 to 1790, 
when the first effectual relief began to be extended, would 
require columns of detail for which we have no time and 
powers of description, for which I have no talent. Then 
was witnessed the scenes of woe and death, of carnage and 
destruction, which no words of mine can ever paint; in- 
stances of heroism in men, of fortitude and devotedness in 
women, of instinctive courage in little children, which the an- 
nals of the most celebrated nations can never surpass. Then 
was seen the Indian warfare in all its horrors — that warfare 
which spares neither decrepit age, nor blooming youth, nor 
manly strength, nor infant weakness ; in which the sleeping 
family awoke from their beds in the midst of flames and 
slaughter ; when virgins were led off captive by savage mon- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 25 

sters; when mothers were loaded with their children 
and compelled to march ; and when, unable to keep up, were 
relieved of their burthen by seeing the brains of infants beat 
out on a tree; when the slow consuming fire of the stake 
devoured its victim in the presence of the pitying friends, 
and in the midst of exulting demons; when the corn was 
planted, the fields were ploughed, the crops were gathered, 
the cows were milked, water was brought from the spring, 
and God was worshiped, under the guard and protection of 
armed men ; when the night was the season for traveling, 
the impervious forest the highway, and the place of safety 
most remote from the habitation of man ; when every house 
was a fort, and every fort subject to siege and assault. 
Such was the warfare in the infant settlements of Kentucky 
and Tennessee, and which the aged men, actors in the dread- 
ful scenes, have related to me so many times." 


In Volume I of "Winning of the West" Roosevelt has 
this to say about the pioneers of Tennessee: 

"Thus the backwoodsmen lived on the clearings they 
had hewed out of the everlasting forest; a grim, stern 
people, strong and simple, powerful for good and evil, 
swayed by gusts of stormy passion, the love of freedom 
rooted in their very hearts' core. Their lives were harsh 
and narrow, they gained their bread by their blood and 
sweat, in the unending struggle with the wild ruggedness 
of nature. They suffered terrible injuries at the hands of 
the red men, and on their foes they waged a terrible warfare 
in return. They were relentless, suspicious, knowing 
neither ruth nor pity ; they were also upright, resolute, and 
fearless, loyal to their friends, and devoted to their country. 
In spite of their many failings, they were of all men the best 
fitted to conquer the wilderness and hold it against all com- 


The men who fought and won the Revolutionary War 
were part of a population of three million that occupied a 
strip of territory about one hundred miles wide and extend- 
ing along the Atlantic Seaboard. Some two hundred miles 
from the seaboard were the mountains. The unoccupied 
part was practically an unknown land, a vast unbroken, un- 
trodden wilderness, and so remained until after the Ameri- 
can Revolution, when the tide of emigration turned west- 

26 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

ward, scaled the Blue Ridge and the Alleghanies, and settled 
Kentucky and Tennessee. We naturally wonder and ask 
how they got there, and to answer this question is to tell the 
story of the Wilderness Road, which is one of the most prom- 
inent landmarks in pioneer American history. Emigrants 
seeking the then West had two routes to choose between, one 
by floating down the Ohio River from Pittsburg, the other 
a land route — the Wilderness Road — by Cumberland Gap. 

Pittsburg had been a military post since 1754, and had 
about one thousand population in 1785. That route would 
appear obviously the easiest and the one to select, but it was 
very dangerous from the Indians along the banks; and it 
is hard to imagine a more pitiable plight than a boat load of 
men, women and children floating down the Ohio with noth- 
ing to protect them from the murderous fire of the Indians. 

When Colonel Richard Henderson bought Kentucky from 
the Indians at the treaty of Watauga in 1775, he employed 
Daniel Boone to blaze the trail into Kentucky. Boone at 
once prepared to do so, and assembled some companions 
at Long Island, Tennessee, and they proceeded with their 
hatchets to blaze the trees; and this was the origin of the 
Wilderness Road which extended from the Watauga set- 
tlements by Cumberland Gap to a point in Kentucky where 
the town of Boonesboro was located, more than two hundred 
miles distant. The fort at Boonesboro was completed July 
14, 1775. 

But the Wilderness Road was not universally considered 
to be this road from Watauga to Boonesboro; it was later 
spoken of by people generally as the road from Cumberland 
Gap to Boonesboro. Persons going into Kentucky from 
Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, 
went by Cumberland Gap and did not touch Tennessee, 
and this class of emigrants was far greater than those from 
the Watauga settlements ; hence it is that in the histories the 
road is generally referred to as the road from Cumberland 

The honor of blazing this trail of civilization belongs to 
East Tennessee and originated, as stated, at the Watauga 
Treaty when Colonel Henderson had bought Kentucky and 
wanted to start the stream of emigration over there. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 27 

Tennesseans feel a profound interest in this pioneer road 
also from the fact that James Robertson when he started 
with his colony of settlers to locate upon the Cumberland, 
where he afterwards founded the city of Nashville, left the 
Watauga settlement and proceeded by the Wilderness Road 
to Cumberland Gap, a distance of about one hundred miles, 
and thence over that road to a point in Kentucky about 
north of the City of Nashville, where he turned south and 
reached his destination on the Cumberland River. His 
route from Cumberland Gap is laid down by Putnam in his 
History of Middle Tennessee, and was from the Gap to Whit- 
ley Station on Dick's River; thence to Carpenter's Station 
on Green River ; thence to Robertson'sFork on the north side 
of that stream, down the river to Putnam's Station, crossing 
and descending that river to Little Barren River; crbssing 
the Barren at the Elk Lick, passing the Blue Spring and the 
Dripping Spring to Big Barren River; thence up Drake's 
Creek to a Bituminous Spring ; thence to the Maple Swamp ; 
thence to Red River at Kilgore Station ; thence to Mansker's 
Lick; and thence to the French Lick or Bluffs. With the 
exception of French Lick and Cumberland Gap, all of the 
above points are in Kentucky. 

Robertson made this trip in the winter of 1779-1780, 
which is known as "the cold winter," one of the most extra- 
ordinary severity. The cold weather started in early, but 
fortunately no deaths occurred among his party, and there 
were no attacks by the Indians. They reached the Cumber- 
land River in December, 1779, on the south side, and on 
January 1st, 1780, they crossed to where Nashville now 
stands. The river was frozen, and he crossed and the cattle 
were driven over on the ice. 

This journey by Robertson is historical in Tennessee. 
He was to meet and did meet another party of emigrants 
and settlers under Colonel John Donelson who went in boats 
on the famous journey from upper East Tennessee to the 
location of Nashville. 


It would not be just to the memory of the great pioneer 
and hunter, who is immortal as the founder of Kentucky, 
not to say something about his life and final end. He was 

28 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

born in Pennsylvania February 11, 1735, and found his way 
to the Yadkin River, and there became a farmer; but the 
wilds had an irresistible attraction for him, and it did not 
make very much difference whether he had company or not, 
— in his rough and humble way he could commune with 
Nature and be happy. His physical endurance was marvel- 
ous and his skill as a hunter wonderful. 

He was employed by Richard Henderson to seek out the 
good land in Kentucky before Henderson bought that State, 
and Boone made several trips there, some before and some 
after, he blazed the Wilderness Road. With all of his 
knowledge as to the location of good land in Kentucky, he 
died poor and was buried in the State of Missouri, then his 
home, September 20, 1820. Twenty-five years afterwards 
the remains of himself and wife were disinterred and taken 
to Frankfort, the Capital of Kentucky, and there buried 
again on August 20, 1845, with honorable ceremonies. Ken- 
tucky did right, although slow in doing it, in bringing the 
remains of her founder back to the Capital of the State, and 
surpassed Tennessee, which waited nearly seventy-five years 
to bring the remains of John Sevier back to the State., 

In, 1795 the Legislature of Kentucky passed an act to 
make the Wilderness Road from Crab Orchard to Cum- 
berland Gap, a wagon road thirty feet wide and adver- 
tised for propositions to do the work. Boone addressed 
a letter to Gov. Isaac Shelby making his application for 
the work, although then sixty years old, and the letter 
is pathetic not only on account of the spelling, but because 
of his modest claim that he was entitled to the work because 
he first marked out the road in March, 1775. All Tennes- 
seans as well as Kentuckians ought to read this letter with 
intense interest: 


feburey the 11th 1796. 

"after my Best Respts to your Excelancy and famyly I 
wish ti inform you that I have sum intention of undertaking 
this New Rode that is to be Cut through the Wilderness and 
I think My Self intiteled to the ofer of the Bisness as I first 
Marked out that Rode in March 1775 and Never Re'd any- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 29 

thing for my trubel and Sepose I am No Statesman I am a 
Woodsman and think My Self as Capable of Marking and 
Cutting that Rode as any other man Sir if you think with 
Me I would thank you to wright mee a Line by the post the 
first opportuneaty and he Will Lodge it at Mr. John Miler 
son Hinkston fork as I wish to know Where and When it is 
to be Laat (let) So that I may atend at the time 
"I am Deer Sir your very omble sarvent" 


The Daughters of the American Revolution on June 30, 
1915, again completed an invaluable piece of work for the 
preservation of early history. On that date there was un- 
veiled at Cumberland Gap — the meeting place of Tennessee, 
Virginia and Kentucky — a stone pedestal bearing on its 
four faces tablets of the Daughters, of the American Revolu- 
tion of North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. 
This pedestal was the last of the marking of the trail of 
Daniel Boone from his North Carolina home to Boonesboro, 
Kentucky. In making this trail, Boone passed through parts 
of the four States mentioned, and in East Tennessee through 
parts of Johnson, Carter, Washington and Sullivan counties. 
The first Tennessee marker was at Trade near the North 
Carolina line, the second at Shoun's, the third at Butler, the 
fourth at Elizabethton, the fifth at Watauga, in Carter Coun- 
ty, the sixth at Austin Springs in Washington County, the 
eighth at Old Fort at the south end of Long Island in Sulli- 
van County, the ninth at Kingsport opposite the center of 
Long Island, where Boone gathered the men together who 
were to accompany him while the negotiations at Sycamore 
Shoals were in progress. 

The first Virginia marker is at Gate City, Scott County, 
the second at Clinchport, the third at the Natural Tunnel, 
the fourth at Dufiield, the fifth at Fort Scott, the sixth at 
Jonesville, the seventh at Boone's Path, the eighth on the 
site of Fort Blackmore. 

The Kentucky markers are, first, at Indian Rock not far 
from Cumberland Gap, the second at Pineville, the third at 
Flat Lake in Knox County, the fourth near Jarvis' store, the 
fifth near Tuttle on the Knox and Laurel County line, the 

30 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

sixth at Fairston, the seventh three miles and a half from 
East Bernstadt in a church yard, the eighth near Livingston, 
the ninth at Boone's Hollow, the tenth at Roundstone Sta- 
tion, the eleventh at Boone's Gap, the twelfth at Berea in 
Madison County, the thirteenth at Estell Station, the four- 
teenth at Boonesboro. 

Cumberland Gap is eminently one of the great localities 
in American history. It was the gateway by which civiliza- 
tion passed from east to west. Nature performs curious 
freaks sometimes, and as we look at this break in the Alle- 
ghany Mountains, we wonder how it came about and what 
the force was that made the great Alleghany Range bend 
and dip at this point, as if preparing an easy highway for 
civilization that sometime was to come. Cumberland Gap 
ought to be purchased by the United States Government and 
held and preserved as a park and made one of the most at- 
tractive spots in America. In all wars it has been a strat- 
egical point, and should another civil war occur, or American 
soil be invaded by a foreign foe, would again be so. John 
Preston Arthur in his History of Watauga County, North 
Carolina, has suggested that Congress should crown the 
D. A. R. pedestal at Cumberland Gap with a bronze statue 
of Daniel Boone clad in hunting shirt, fringed leggins, moc- 
casins, shot-pouch, powder-horn, hunting knife and toma- 
hawk, with the figure leaning slightly forward while peer- 
ing underneath the left hand towards the West, the right 
hand grasping the barrel of his long flintlock Kentucky rifle 
with its butt resting on the ground, the figure crowned with 
a coon-skin cap. And Mr. Arthur correctly says that "Such 
a statue would identify this historical spot with this historic 
character, and fix forever the costume, accoutrements and 
arms of the pioneer of America. It is the most significant 
and suggestive place in America ; for while Plymouth Rock 
was the landing place of the Puritans, Jamestown of the 
Cavaliers, Philadelphia of the Quakers and Charleston of 
the Huguenots, it was through Cumberland Gap that both 
Roundhead and Huguenot, Puritan and Cavalier, passed 
with the sober Quaker, on the way to the Golden West. 
Boone was their greatest and most typical leader and ex- 
emplar. He was colonel and private, physician and nurse, 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee; History 3 1 

leader and follower, hunter and hunted, as occasion de- 
manded, but he was never self-seeking or a swindler. His 
fame is now monumental, for he had no land to sell, no pri- 
vate fortune to make and his record is one of unsullied pa- 
triotism. He was simply a plain man but a man all through. 
He was neither Northerner nor Southerner, Easterner or 
Westerner, but all combined, and the men, women and chil- 
dren who followed the glowing footsteps of this backwoods 
lictor were the ancestors of those who people these United 
States today, and make it the most enlightened, the most 
progressive and the most democratic nation in the world." 


The Legislature of North Carolina made provision for 
laying out a road from Washington Court House to Burke 
County in North Carolina, which was opened, and the road 
extended on down to Campbell's Station in Knox County, 
Tennessee. There guards were provided to escort emigrants 
and settlers along the road. This road, however, was not 
sufficient for the travel that was increasing over it, and pro- 
vision was made for a wider and more level road in its place. 
This last provision made by the General Assembly of North 
Carolina in 1787 resulted in a road, the completion of which 
was announced by Colonel James Robertson in the State 
Gazette of North Carolina, on November 28, 1788, as fol- 

"The new road from Campbell's Station to Nashville 
was opened on the 25th of September and the guard attended 
at that time to escort such persons as were ready to proceed 
to Nashville; that about sixty families had gone on, among 
whom were the widow and family of the late General David- 
son and John McNairy, Judge of the Superior Court; and 
that on the first day of October next the guard would attend 
at the same place for the same purpose." 

The road from Campbell's Station ran through Roane 
County to South West Point, now Kingston, Tennessee, and 
the route of the road to Nashville was largely along the line 
of the present Tennessee Central Railroad, touching well- 
known points as Kingston, Post Oak Springs, Crab Orchard, 
Crossville, Lebanon, Nashville. 

In 1792 a fort was established at South West Point and 

32 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Captain McClellan and a detachment of United States troops 
were located there to prevent incursions of Cherokee In- 
dians. This garrison was maintained until 1806 or 1807 
when it was moved to a point on the right bank of the Ten- 
nessee River about six miles from Dayton, Tennessee. 

The town of Kingston was established by Act of the Ter- 
ritorial Legislature on October 23d, 1799, on lands of Robert 
King, and the Act provided that the town should be called 
Kingston. King lived in a cabin where the present Ex- 
change Hotel in Kingston is located. Matthew Nelson, who 
has descendants now living in Knoxville, established a tav- 
ern in Kingston in 1808. He subsequently became Treas- 
urer of Tennessee. 

Haywood says that about July 31, 1795, a wagon road 
from Knoxville to Nashville was so far completed that a 
wagon with a load weighing a ton had actually passed over 
it, and that the commissioners in charge of its construction 
had entered into a contract for its thorough completion in 
the month of October and that they had ample funds in their 
hands for the purpose; that a day or two before this, two 
wagons arrived at Knoxville from South Carolina having 
passed through the Mountains by way of the Warm Springs 
on the French Broad River, so that it could be said that a 
wagon road had been opened from Georgia, North Carolina, 
South Carolina, and other Atlantic states, by way of Knox- 
ville to Nashville, over which the stream of population be- 
gan to flow to such an extent, that it was confidently ex- 
pected at that time that the new census would show at least 
sixty thousand inhabitants. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 33 



The pioneers of Tennessee from the time that William 
Bean erected his cabin in 1769 to June 1st, 1796, when the 
State was admitted into the Union, lived under more differ- 
ent forms of government probably than any other people in 
a similar period in the history of the world. These govern- 
ments were : 

First, The Watauga Association from 1772 to 1777. 

Second, Governed as a part of North Carolina under 
the name of Washington County from 1777 to 1784. 

Third, The State of Franklin from 1784 to 1788. 

Fourth, Governed again as a part of North Carolina as 
Washington County, 1788 to 1790. 

Fifth, The Territory of the United States south of the 
Ohio River, governed by a territorial Governor and three 
Judges from 1790 to 1794. 

Sixth, The Territory of the United States south of the 
Ohio River governed by a Governor, a Legislative Council 
and a House of Representatives from 1794 to 1796. 

Seventh, The State of Tennessee, June 1st, 1796. 

Submission to these numerous varieties of government 
proved that the pioneers believed in government and in the 
supremacy of law. 

The Watauga Association was a voluntary organiza- 
tion formed by the people of Watauga in 1772 and based 
upon the inherent right of the people to govern themselves. 
They were in the wilderness surrounded by high mountains 
and protected by neither the Confederation on the one hand, 
nor North Carolina upon the other — thrown absolutely 
upon their own resources. The formation of the Associa- 
tion was a matter of necessity and was not instigated by 
opposition to any existing form of government, but simply 
because there must be a government of some kind and this 
was the simplest form of government. There were five 
Commissioners, John Carter, Charles Robertson, James 

34 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Robertson, Zach Isbill and John Sevier, who seem to have 
had authority to settle any kind of controversy and make 
rules and regulations affecting the general welfare. The 
Articles of Association are not in existence and there is 
no claim upon the part of any one to be able to state just 
what the articles were. The best information we have in 
reference to them is in the petition for annexation to North 
Carolina which subsequently Was made, and signed by all 
the men then in the country. 

These early settlements had a share of escaped crim- 
inals, law-breakers, horse-thieves and undesirable charac- 
ters generally, and the pioneers had not only to protect them- 
selves from the Indians but from the undesirable element 
in the community. The success with which the Committee 
of Five handled the situation was wonderful and argues in 
the pioneers' strong character, intense determination and 
general civic uprightness. It is difficult in all history to find 
a stronger argument in favor of any people than the Wa- 
tauga Association furnishes in behalf of the pioneers of 
Tennessee. The five Commissioners who constituted the en- 
tire government were elected by the people and its ses- 
sions were held at regular periods. Finally the increase of 
business made necessary a Clerk, and he was employed. 
The laws of Virginia were taken as a standard by the Com- 
mission of Five. 

But with the increase of population of all sorts and 
kinds, the menace from the Indians and the dangers of 
frontier life generally, the Watauga settlers concluded to 
make an application to the State of North Carolina to 
annex them to that State, and it is through the persever- 
ance and painstaking search of Dr. J. G. M. Ramsey that 
the petition for annexation was found and given to the 
world in his "Annals of Tennessee." He says that he found 
the petition in an old bundle of papers on an upper shelf 
in the State Archives at Raleigh, North Carolina, where 
it had probably been lying for seventy-five years, and that 
it is in the handwriting of John Sevier. The historical value 
attached to this petition can hardly be overestimated in the 
light it throws upon the early history of Tennessee. It will 
be observed that there are but two signatures to the peti- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 35 

tion by mark, which speaks in high terms of the intelligence 
of the pioneers. Dr. Ramsey says that there is no date on 
the petition, but that it has endorsed upon it the words: 
"Received August 22, 1776." 


The petition was in the following words: 
"To the Hon. the Provincial Council of North Carolina : 

'The humble petition of the inhabitants of Washing- 
ton District, including the River Wataugah, Nonachuckie, 
&c, in committee assembled, Humbly Sheweth, that about 
six years ago, Col. Donelson, (in behalf of the colony of 
Virginia,) held a Treaty with the Cherokee Indians, in 
order to purchase the lands of the Western Frontiers; in 
consequence of which Treaty, many of your petitioners set- 
tled on the lands of the Wataugah, &c, expecting to be with- 
in the Virginia line, and consequently holding their lands 
by their improvements as first settlers ; but to their great 
disappointment, when the line was run they w r ere (con- 
trary to their expectation) left out; finding themselves thus 
disappointed, and being too inconveniently situated to re- 
move back, and feeling an unwillingness to loose the labor 
bestowed on their plantations, they applied to the Chero- 
kee Indians, and leased the land for the term of ten years, 
before the expiration of which term, it appeared that many 
persons of distinction were actually making purchases for- 
ever; thus yielding a precedent, (supposing many of them, 
who were gentlemen of the law, to be better judges of the 
constitution than we were,) and considering the bad con- 
sequences it must be attended with, should the reversion be 
purchased out of our hands, we next proceeded to make a 
purchase of the lands, reserving those in our possession 
in sufficient tracts for our own use, and resolving to dis- 
pose of the remainder for the good of the community. This 
puchase was made and the lands acknowledged to us and 
our heirs forever, in an open treaty, in Wataugah Old 
Fields; a deed being obtained from the Chiefs of the said 
Cherokee nation, for themselves and their whole nation, 
conveying a fee simple right to the said lands to us and 
our heirs forever, which deed was for and in consideration 
of the sum of two thousand pounds sterling, (paid to them 
in goods) for which consideration they acknowledged them- 
selves fully satisfied, contented and paid ; and agreed, for 
themselves, their Whole nation, their heirs, &c, forever to 
resign, warrant and defend the said land to us, and our 
heirs &c, against themselves, their heirs, &c. 

36 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"The purchase was' no sooner made, than we were 
alarmed by the reports of the present unhappy differences 
between Great Britain and America, on which report, (tak- 
ing the now united colonies for our guide) we proceeded 
to choose a committee, which was done unanimously by 
consent of the people. This committee (willing to become 
a party in the present unhappy contest) resolved, (which 
is now on our records,) to adhere strictly to the rules and 
orders of the Continental Congress, and in open commit- 
tee acknowledged themselves indebted to the united colonies 
their full proportion of the Continental expense. 

"Finding themselves on the Frontiers, and being ap- 
prehensive that, for the want of a proper legislature we 
might become a shelter for such as endeavoured to defraud 
their creditors; considering also the necessity of recording 
Deeds, Wills, and doing other public business; we, by con- 
sent of the people, formed a court for the purposes above 
mentioned, taking (by desire of our constituents) the Vir- 
ginia laws for our guide, so near as the situation of affairs 
would admit; this was intended for ourselves, and was 
done by the consent of every individual; but wherever we 
had to deal with people out of our district, we have ruled 
them to bail, to abide by our determinations, (which was, 
in fact, leaving the matter to reference,) otherways we dis- 
missed their suit, lest we should in any way intrude on the 
legislature of the colonies. In short, we have endeavored 
so strictly to do justice, that we have admitted common 
proof against ourselves, on accounts, &c, from the colo- 
nies, without pretending a right to require the Colony Seal. 

"We therefore trust we shall be considered as we de- 
serve, and not as we have (no doubt) been many times rep- 
resented, as a lawless mob. It is for this very reason we 
can assure you that we petition; we now again repeat it, 
that it is for want of proper authority to try and punish 
felons, we can only mention to you murderers, horse-thieves 
and robbers, and we are sorry to say that some of them 
have escaped us for want of proper authority. We trust, 
however, this will not long be the case; and we again and 
again repeat it, that it is for this reason we petition to 
this Honorable Assembly. 

"Above we have given you an extract of our proceed- 
ings, since our settling on Wataugah, Nonachuckie, &c, in 
regard to our civil affairs. We have shown you the causes 
of our first settling and the disappointments we have met 
with, the reason of our lease and of our purchase, the man- 
ner in w r hich we purchased, and how we hold of the In- 
dians in fee simple ; the causes of our forming a committee, 
and the legality of its election ; the same of our Court and 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 37 

proceedings, and our reasons for petitioning in regard to 
our legislature. 

"We will now proceed to give you some account of our 
military establishments, which were chosen agreeable to 
the rules established by convention, and officers appointed 
by the committee. This being done, we thought it proper 
to raise a company on the District service, as our propor- 
tion, to act in the common cause on the seashore. A com- 
pany of fine riflemen were accordingly enlisted, and put 
under Captain James Robertson, and were actually em- 
bodied, when we received sundry letters and depositions, 
(copies of which We now enclose you,) you will then read- 
ily judge that there was occasion for them in another place, 
where we daily expected an attack. We therefore thought 
proper to station them on our Frontiers, in defense of the 
common cause, at the expense and risque of our own pri- 
vate fortunes, till farther public orders, which we flatter 
ourselves will give no offence. We have enclosed you sun- 
dry proceedings at the station where our men now remain. 
"We shall now submit the whole to your candid and 
impartial judgment. We pray your mature and* deliberate 
consideration in our behalf, that you may annex us to 
your Province, (whether as county, district, or other di- 
vision,) in such manner as may enable us to share in the 
glorious cause of Liberty; enforce our laws under author- 
ity, and in every respect become the best members of so- 
ciety; and for ourselves and constituents we hope, we may 
venture to assure you, that we shall adhere strictly to your 
determinations, and that nothing will be lacking, or any- 
thing neglected, that may add weight (in the civil or military 
establishments) to the glorious cause in which we are now 
struggling, or contribute to the welfare of our own or ages 
yet to come. 

"That you may strictly examine every part of this our 
Petition, and delay no time in annexing us to your Province, 
in such a manner as your wisdom shall direct, is the hearty 
prayer of those who, for themselves and constituents, as 
in duty bound, shall ever pray. 

John Carter Chn. Jacob Brown, 

Charles Robertson, Wm. Been, 

James Robertson, John Jones, 

Zach. Isbell George Rusel, 

John Sevier, Jacob Womack, 

James Smith, Robert Lucas, 

The above signers are the Members in Committee as- 

Wm. Tatham, Clerk P. T. 

38 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Jacob Womack, 
Joseph Dunham, 
Rice Durroon, 
Edward Hopson, 
Lew. Bowyer, D. Atty 
Joseph Buller 
Andw, Greer, 

Joab X Mitchell 

Gideon Morris 
Shadrack Morris, 
William Crocket, 
Thos. Dedmon, 
David Hickey, 
Mark Mitchell, 
Hugh Blair, 
Elias Pebeer, 
Jos. Brown, 
John Neave, 
John Robinson, 

John McCormick, 

Adam Sherrell, 

Samuel Sherrell, junr. 

Samuel Sherrell, senr. 

Ossa Rose, 

Henry Bates, jun. 

Jos. Grimes, 

Christopher Cunningham, sen. 

Joshua Barten, Sen., 

Joud. Bostin, sen. 

Henry Bates, jun., 

Will'm Dod, 

Groves Morris, 

Wm. Bates, 

Rob't Mosely, 

Ge Hartt, 

Isaac Wilson, 

Jno. Waddell, 

Jarret Williams, 

Oldham Hightower, 

Aibednago Hix, 

Christopher Cunningham,Charles McCartney, 

Jas. Easeley, 
Ambrose Hodge, 
Dan'l Morris 
Wm. Cox, 
John Brown, 
Jos. Brown, 
Job Bumper 
Isaac Wilson, 
Richard Norton, 
George Hutson, 
Thomas Simpson, 
Valentine Sevier, 
Jonathan Tipton. 
Robert Sevier, 
Drury Goodan, 
Richard Fletcher, 
Ellexander Greear, 
Jos. Greear, 
Andrew Greear, jun. 
Teeler Nave, 
Lewis Jones, 
John I. Cox, 
John Cox, jr., 
Abraham Cox, 
Emanuel Shote, 

Frederick Vaughn, 
Jos. McCartney, 
Mark Robertson, 
Joseph Calvit, 
Joshua Houghton, 
James Easley, 
John Haile, 
Elijah Robertson, 
William Clark, 

John X Dunham, 

Wm. Overall, 
Matt. Hawkins, 
David Crocket, 
Edw'd Cox 
Tho's Hughes, 
William Roberson 
Henry Siler, 
Frederick Calvit, 
John Moore, 
William Newberry, 
John Chukinbeard, 
James Cooper, 
William Brokees, 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 39 

Tho. Houghton, Julius Robertson, 

Jos. Luske, John King, 

Wm. Reeves, Michael Hider, 

David Hughes, John Davis, 

Landon Carter, John Barley." 

The pioneers had been living under the government of 
the Watauga Association for four years when this petition 
was presented to the legislature and that body did not put 
into effect the request for annexation until November 1777 
when it formed Washington District, which was the name 
the pioneers had given to their country, into Washington 
County, and gave to the County the boundaries of the whole 
of the present State of Tennessee. At the same session 
of the Legislature it was provided that a land office should 
be opened in Washington County with liberal provisions 
for taking up land. 

The motives leading the pioneers to seek annexation 
to North Carolina are set out in the petition quoted; the 
motive of North Carolina in accepting the annexation was 
the motive of self-interest through the acquirement of a 
large territory. Looking back on the situation from our 
day it is difficult to see how anything but disappointment, 
dissatisfaction and final rupture, could have been the result 
of this annexation. The Watauga people were far removed 
from North Carolina, separated by a high mountain range, 
had no wealth to tax, with practically no money in circu- 
lation, a new country to be developed from the very begin- 

On the other hand, the State of North Carolina, while 
better developed, was hardly able to take care of itself. 
The Revolutionary War began shortly after the Declara- 
tion of Independence in 1776, and the Whig element in 
North Carolina adhered to the American cause while the 
Tory element adhered to Great Britain. The State was 
divided and was under the heel of the British Army which 
had practically subjugated the entire State. North Caro- 
lina, therefore, was in no condition to help the Watauga 
people. In fact, but for the Watauga people the Battle of 
King's Mountain would have been lost, and North Carolina 

40 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

in all probability placed indefinitely in the grasp of Great 

Between the two parties to the annexation it would 
seem that the Watauga people were better able to take care 
of themselves independently than North Carolina was to 
take care of herself independently. 

North Carolina at no time exercised any real control 
over the Western people.' The annexation was a practical 
nullity from the start, and the Watauga people saw that 
there were no benefits to be derived from North Carolina, 
but they put up with the situation from 1777 to 1784, when, 
patience ceasing to be a virtue, they organized the State 
of Franklin which continued in existence until 1788. 

To show the feeling of North Carolina towards the 
mountain people it is only necessary to refer to the action 
of the legislature of that State at the April session in 
1784 when it ceded to the United States the Western coun- 
try, now the State of Tennessee, and gave the government 
two years in which to decide whether it would accept the 
gift; North Carolina, during the two years, to retain jur- 
isdiction over the Territory. ■ It was not at all difficult for 
the pioneers to see that if North Carolina was so desirous 
of getting rid of them, that during the two years, they 
had absolutely less than nothing to expect from that State. 
The Legislaure at the same session that offered the Ter- 
ritory to the United States closed the land office in Wash- 
ington County. 

No Tennessean who has carefully read the early his- 
tory of the State can blame the pioneers for establishing 
the State of Franklin. It was justifiable from any stand- 
point from which it can be viewed. The mistake was that 
they ever petitioned the State of North Carolina for an- 
nexation; if that had never been done then the right to 
organize the State of Franklin would have been just as 
unquestionable as their right to organize the Watauga As- 
sociation; but for all practical purposes they were in the 
same condition when they organized the State of Frank- 
lin, and this movement, like their first effort at government, 
was the product of necessity. King's Mountain forever set- 
tled the fact that the Watauga people were much better 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 41 

able to protect and assist North Carolina, than North Caro- 
lina was to assist and protect the Watauga people. The 
Battle of the Alamance, where the patriot Whigs had been 
scattered to the four winds and about one hundred and 
sixty of them compelled to take refuge on the Western wa- 
ters, had so demoralized the situation in North Carolina that 
the State was absolutely at the mercy of the British Army. 
John Sevier and Isaac Shelby redeemed North Carolina 
when they organized the pioneers, and by a bold and mas- 
terly stroke, went in search of Ferguson and conquered 
him, instead of waiting for Ferguson to carry out his threat 
to come to the Western waters and hang the leaders and 
burn their homes. Annexation had been in force for three 
years when King's Mountain was fought, and notwithstand- 
ing the pioneers knew that they had saved North Carolina, 
they tolerated the weakness of that State and its total in- 
ability to be of any service to the Western people for four 
years before they organized, as a matter of necessity, the 
State of Franklin. Neither the State of Franklin nor any 
of the men who brought it into existence need any apology 
for what was done. 

The little State would have been able to protect itself 
as a little independent republic until it developed popula- 
tion sufficient to become a State of the Union, had not in- 
ternal dissensions among the politicians brought about 
trouble. These dissensions are indicated sufficiently in the 
chapters on John Sevier and need not be repeated at this 

Finally, in 1788, when the State of Franklin collapsed, 
North Carolina resumed nominal control of the Western 
people, and there was practically no improvement during 
the next tw)o years, when it was ceded in 1790 to the United 
States, and became the Territory of the United States 
south of the Ohio River. 

The movement to establish the State of Franklin showed 
North Carolina the necessity of repealing the act of ces- 
sion to the United States, which was done in 1784, and of 
showing some interest in the Western people, and, if pos- 
sible, of crushing the movement for a new State. North 
Carolina appointed John Sevier Brigadier-General of Wash- 

42 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

ington County, and established a court in that County, with 
David Campbell as one of the Judges, but the revolution 
had started and could not be turned back. The Franklin 
government was finally established in 1785, and the first 
Franklin legislature met, which was the first legislative 
body that ever met on the soil of the State of Tennessee, 
and the last session of that body was in September, 1787. 
Prior to this appointment of John Sevier as Brigadier- 
General there was no Brigadier-General authorized by law 
to call out the militia of the different counties, or to take 
charge of any movement on sudden emergencies, like an In- 
dian attack, and Indian aggressions were continuing from 
time to time. 

The act of cession had made political orphans of the 
Watauga people who were cast off by North Carolina, with 
Congress to have two years to decide whether or not it 
would accept them. 

The State of Franklin was organized as a matter of 
sheer self-protection. 


On July 13th, 1787, the Congress of the United States 
passed an ordinance "for the government of the Territory 
of the United States north-west of the River Ohio" and 
prescribing regulations for that territory. It provided for 
a Governor appointed by Congress for three years who 
should reside in the territory and have a free-hold estate 
of one thousand acres of land ; for a Secretary appointed by 
Congress who should hold for a term of four years and have 
a free-hold estate of five hundred acres; also for a Court 
consisting of three Judges who should reside in the terri- 
tory and each should have a free-hold estate of five hun- 
dred acres of land, and they should serve during good be- 

The Governor and Judges, or a majority of them, were 
authorized to adopt and publish in the territory such laws 
as they might think necessary and best suited to the cir- 
cumstances of the territory, and report them to Congress 
from time to time, which laws would remain in effect un- 
less disapproved of by Congress, or, changed by the Leg- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 43 

islature which the Ordinance authorized to be elected when 
the Territory had five thousand free male inhabitants of 
full age. When it should be ascertained that the Territory- 
had the five thousand population, a House of Representa- 
tives was to be elected consisting of one representative for 
every five hundred free male inhabitants, and so on, pro- 
gressively, with the number of free male inhabitants, the 
right of representation should increase until the number 
of representatives should amount to twenty-five, each rep- 
resentative to be elected for a term of two years. 

The House of Representatives was to be a part of the 
General Assembly or Legislature of the Territory, which 
was to consist of the Governor, the Legislative Council, 
and the House of Representatives. The Legislative Council 
was to consist of five members holding office for five years, 
selected by Congress out of ten nominated by the House of 
Representatives. The General Assembly or Legislature had 
authority to make all the laws for the good government 
of the territory not repugnant to the Ordinance of 1787. 

The Ordinance provided also that there should be neith- 
er slavery nor involuntary servitude in the territory ex- 
cept as a punishment for crime whereof the party should 
have been duly convicted. 

The Ordinance of 1787 was made applicable by Con- 
gress May 26, 1790, to "the Territory of the United States 
to the South of the River Ohio" with the exception "that 
no regulations made or to be made by Congress shall tend 
to emancipate slaves" in said territory south of the Ohio. 

Under this ordinance President Washington appointed 
William Blount Governor and Superintendent of Indian Af- 
fairs; Daniel Smith, Secretary to the Governor; David 
Campbell, Joseph Anderson, and John McNairy, Judges; 
John Sevier, Brigadier General for Washington District; 
James Robertson, Brigadier General for the Mero District. 
The Governor was authorized to appoint all military offi- 
cers below the grade of Brigadier General. 

The Ordinance of 1787 provided that as soon as there 
were five thousand free male inhabitants of full age in the 
territory, upon giving proof thereof to the Governor, they 
should receive authority with time and place to elect rep- 

44 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

resentatives from their counties or townships to represent 
them in the General Assembly. Proof having been made to 
him that there were the requisite five thousand inhabitants 
of the full age in the territory, Governor Blount proceeded 
to carry out this provision of the Ordinance of 1787 by 
issuing his proclamation as follows: 




Governor in and over the territory of the United States of 
America, South of the River Ohio. 

AN ORDINANCE, giving authority for the election 
of representatives to represent the people in General As- 

PROOF having been made to me, that there are five 
thousand and upwards of free male inhabitants, of full 
age, in the said Territory : I DO give authority for the elec- 
tion of representatives to represent the people in General 
Assembly; and do ordain, that an election shall be held by 
ballot, for thirteen representatives, to represent the people 
for two years in General Assembly, on the third Friday 
and Saturday in December next, qualified as provided and 
required by the ordinance of Congress, of July 13th, 1787, 
for the government of the territory north of the Ohio, and 
by free male inhabitants, of full age qualified as electors; 
as also provided and required by the said ordinance, of 
whom the electors of the counties of Washington, Hawkins, 
Jefferson, and Knox, shall elect two each for said coun- 
ties; and the electors for the counties of Sullivan, Greene, 
Tennessee, Davidson and Sumner, shall elect one for each 
of those counties. 

AND BE IT ORDAINED, That the said election for 
the representatives to represent the people in general as- 
sembly, shall be held at the Court houses in each county 
by the Sheriff thereof; and in case of his absence or in- 
ability, his deputy, or the coroner thereof, with the advice 
and the assistance of inspectors of the polls, in the man- 
ner and form as prescribed and directed by the laws of 
North Carolina, respecting the holding of election in that 
State. And the said Sheriff or other officer holding the said 
election, is directed and required to report to the secre- 
tary's office at Knoxville, as early as may be the name or 
names of persons duly elected, to represent the representa- 
tives counties. 

Done at Knoxville, in the Territory aforesaid, this the 
19th day of October 1793. WM. BLOUNT. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 45 

The election was duly held and the Territorial Legisla- 
ture assembled at Knoxville February 24, 1794, and chose 
David Wilson, Speaker, and Hopkins Lacy, Clerk. The 
members of the Legislature elected were: David Wilson 
of Sumner County ; Leroy Taylor and John Tipton of Wash- 
ington; George Rutherford of Sullivan; Joseph Hardin of 
Greene; William Cocke and Joseph McMinn of Hawkins; 
Alexander Kelly and John Beard of Knox; Samuel Wear 
and George Doherty of Jefferson ; Thomas White of David- 
son; James Ford of Tennessee. 

The Legislature nominated the following from which 
five were to be selected to compose the Legislative Coun- 
cil : James Winchester, William Fort, Stockley Donelson, 
Richard Gammon, David Russel, John Sevier, Adam Meek, 
John Adair, Griffith Rutherford, and Parmenas Taylor. 
From this number Congress selected Griffith Rutherford, 
John Sevier, James Winchester, Stockley Donelson, and 
Parmenas Taylor, and they were duly commissioned by 
President George Washington. George Rutherford was 
elected President of the Legislative Council; George Roul- 
stone, Clerk; Christopher Shoat, Doorkeeper. So the Gen- 
eral Assembly or Legislature of the Territory was complete- 
ly organized. 

The House of Representatives followed the rule of the 
English House of Commons in permitting a member to sit 
with his hat on when the House was in session. 

Rule VIII of the "Rules of Decorum" provides : 

"He that digresseth from the subject to fall upon the 
person of any member shall be suppressed by the Speaker." 

The interest in education of the General Assembly in 
that backwoods country was very remarkable. It incorpor- 
ated three colleges which, or their lineal descendants, are 
in existence to-day, viz. : Greeneville College in Greene 
County; Blount College, the progenitor of the University 
of Tennessee, in Knox County; and Washington College in 
Washington County. 

46 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 



The period covered by this book — the life of Andrew 
Jackson, 1767-1845 — forbids any account of Knoxville, 
Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga, after they had reached 
the population and dimensions of cities. In 1845, the year 
of General Jackson's death, Knoxville had between 1,500 
and 2,000 population ; Nashville about 8,500 ; Memphis about 
8,000, and Chattanooga less than one thousand. Our inter- 
est in them at that early day is as a part of the developing 
State, which was a little past the pioneer period ; as to Knox- 
ville and Nashville especially, the one being founded in 1791, 
and the other in 1780, our interest is strongly historical. 

Knoxville is in Latitude 35° 56', Longitude 85° 58' and 
is the geographical center of the valley of East Tennessee, 
which contains about 9,200 square miles. The city was 
named for General Knox, the Secretary of War in Washing- 
ton's cabinet, as was also the County of Knox in which it is 
located. The county was formed by ordinance of terri- 
torial Governor William Blount, from parts of Hawkins and 
Greene Counties in 1792. Five days after the Governor's 
ordinance establishing the county, he appointed fifteen Jus- 
tices of the Peace to constitute the Court of Pleas and Quar- 
ter Sessions, and the first court was held at the house of 
John Stone, July 16, 1792. The lawyers admitted to prac- 
tice in this Court were men who afterwards became distin- 
guished in Tennessee: Luke Bowyer, Alexander Outlaw, 
Archibald Roane, Hopkins Lacy, John Rhea, James Reese, 
and John Sevier, Jr. The Court was prompt in taking steps 
to open roads from Knoxville, and on January 26, 1793, 
commissioners were appointed to contract for the building 
of a log jail 16 feet square, also to erect a courthouse. The 
pioneer merchants were Nathaniel and James Cowen, and 
Hugh Dunlap. Goods were brought from Philadelphia and 
Baltimore overland. It took Hugh Dunlap from December, 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 47 

1791, to February 1st, 1792, to bring goods to Knoxville by 
wagon from Philadelphia. 

In 1795 the United States government gave Knoxville a 
bi-monthly mail, and George Roulstone, the publisher of the 
Knoxville Gazette, was the Postmaster. 

The city was founded, named and laid out in 1791, \>ut 
it is probable that nothing much was done in the building 
line until 1792, and this is usually the date given for the 
founding and laying out of the city. Ramsey says that some 
of the lots were sold in 1791, but that no considerable im- 
provement was commenced until February, 1792, when sev- 
eral small buildings were erected. Some of the writers give 
1792 as the date when Colonel Charles McClung surveyed 
the lots and laid out the town, but there is a document that 
would seem to settle the question in favor of 1791. This 
document was published in the Knoxville Gazette of Decem- 
ber 17, 1791, and every resident of the present city will 
doubtless read it with intense interest, for it goes back to 
the very beginning of things in Knoxville, and names are 
attached to it that will be readily recognized. Families now 
living here can trace their ancestry to some of the signers. 
It is of keen historical interest and will bear study : 

"Knoxville, October 3, 1791. 
"Articles of agreement made and concluded on this 
third day of October, 1791, by and between James White, 
proprietor of the land laid off for the town of Knoxville, of 
the one part, and John Adair, Paul Cunningham, and George 
McNutt, commissioners appointed in behalf of the purchas- 
ers of the lots in the town of Knoxville, of the other part, 
all of Hawkins County, and Territory of the United States 
of America South of the Ohio River, WITNESSETH that 
the said James White do bargain and sell to the subscribers 
for lots in the said town, 64 lots, each containing one-half 
acre square, reserving 8 lots which are not to be loted for. 
The said town to be loted for and drawn in a fair lottery by 
the said commissioners in behalf of the subscribers, on the 
third of October aforesaid ; and further, the said James 
White doth hereby bind himself, his heirs, executors, ad- 
ministrators, and assigns to make, or cause to be made, a 
good and sufficient title for each lot to the person drawing 
the same, as soon as payment is made, agreeable to the 
terms of sale of said lots. And we the commissioners afore- 
said, do covenant and agree in behalf of the said purchasers, 

48 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

to superintend the drawing of the tickets for the said lots 
and that we will do equal justice between the parties, with- 
out fear or affection to any, whether present or absent, and 
the said James White doth agree that all the lands lying 
between the said town and the river, one pole in breadth 
along the river bank excepted and all the land between the 
town and the creek, as far as the southeast corner of Broad 
street, with a street thirty-three feet wide around the re- 
mainder of the town, commons for the said town. 
And further that the lots for which payment hath not been 
made agreeable to the articles of sale of the said lots, sliall 
be for the use of the said James White, he, when selling 
them, binding the purchasers to abide by the rules and regu- 
lations which shall be made by the aforesaid commission- 
ers. And the said commissioners shall have power to act, 
and to regulate all matters respecting the said town, until 
an act of assembly shall be made for the rules and regula- 
tions thereof. And further it is agreed that any person re- 
fusing to comply with the rules for building and other 
necessary expense, shall pay to the said commissioners a 
sum not exceeding five dollars for such refusal made. The 
fines shall be collected and applied to the use and benefit 
of said town. 

"In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hands 
this third day of October, 1791. 

Teste : 
Charles McClung, 
James Cozby, 

James White, 1. 
James W. Lackey, 2. 
His Excellency, William 

Blount, 3. 
James Armstrong, 4. 
William Davidson, 5. 
Andrew and J. Belfour, 6. 
John Hays, 7. 
Thomas Amis, 8. 
Jacob Brown, 9. 
James Knox, 10. 
James Richardson, 11. 
William Boyd, 12. 
Thomas Amis, 13. 
James Hodges, 14. 
Hon. Judge Anderson, 15. 
John Gehon, 16. 
Ignatius and J. Chisholm, 


James White, 
John Adair, 
Paul Cunningham, 
Geo. McNutt. 

Matthew A. Atkinson, 32. 
Rev. Mr. Carrick, 33. 
John Stone, 34. 
Hon. Judge Campbell, 35. 
Reserved Lot, 36. 
Reserved Lot, 37. 
Samuel Hannah, 38. 
Jacob Carper, 39. 
George Roulstone, 40. 
Andrew Green, 41. 
John Adair, 42. 
William Lowery, 43. 
Nathaniel Cowan, 44. 
Samuel McGaughey, 45. 
William Henry, 46. 
William Cox, 47. 
John Chisholm, 48. 
John King, Sr., 49. 
Lewis Newhouse, 50. 




























3 3 










H 5 

§ s. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 49 

John Carter, 18. Peter McNamee, 51. 

James Cozby, 19. Nicholas Perkins, 52. 

Thomas King, 20. Daniel Hamblin, 53. 

Rev. Mr. Carrick, 21. John Hackett, 54. 

Jacob Carper, 22. Jacob Carper, 55. 

John Love, 23. Robert Legitt, 56. 

John Owens, 24. Adam Peck, 57. 

James Greenway, 25. David Allison, 58. 

Jacob Carper, 26. James and W. Lea, 59. 

George Roulstone, 27. John Troy, 60. 

Reserved Lot, 28. William Small, 61. 

Reserved Lot, 29. Hugh Fulton, 62. 
Andrew and J. Belfour, 30. James Miller, 63. 

John Rhea, 31. Thomas Smith, 64. 

"We, the commissioners, do certify that the above names 
are set opposite the numbers agreeable to the lottery as 
they were drawn. 

"John Adair, 
"Paul Cunningham, 
"George McNutt." 

"N. B. : Those persons who subscribed for lots are de- 
sired to pay the purchase money immediately, otherwise 
their subscription will be deemed void, and the lots disposed 
for the benefit of the proprietor." 

Another document following the agreement as to the 
lots is the act passed by the territorial Legislature in Sep- 
tember, 1794, establishing Knoxville, and this, also, is of 
great interest to the present citizens, and follows in full: 


"An act for establishing Knoxville, on the north bank 
of Holston, and immediately below the second creek that 
runs into Holston on the north side, below the mouth of 
French Broad river, and for appointing commissioners for 
the regulation thereof. 

"Whereas, In the year one thousand seven hundred and 
ninety-one it was found expedient to establish a town on 
the north bank of Holston, immediately below the second 
creek that runs into the north side of the same, below the 
mouth of French Broad, Governor Blount having deter- 
mined to fix the seat of government on the said spot; and, 
whereas, a town was accordingly laid out by James White 
at the above described place, and called Knoxville, in honor 
of Major General Henry Knox, consisting of the necessary 
streets and sixty-four lots, numbered from one to sixty- 

50 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

four, as will more fully appear, reference being had to the 
plat of said town. 

"Section 1. Be it enacted by the governor, legislative 
council, and house of representatives of the Territory of 
the United States of America South of the River Ohio, 
That a town be established on the above described spot of 
ground, w T hich shall continue to be known, as heretofore, 
by the name of Knoxville, in honor of Major General Knox, 
consisting of the necessary streets and sixty-four lots, from 
number one to sixty-four, agreeable to the plan of the said 
town, made in the year one thousand seven hundred and 

"Sec. 2. And be it enacted, that Colonel James King, 
John Chisholm and Joseph Greer, Esquires, George Roul- 
stone and Samuel Cowan be and hereby are appointed com- 
missioners of the said town, with power to regulate the 
same, and, if necessary, with the consent of the proprietor, 
to enlarge it. 

"Sec. 3. And be it enacted, That a correct plan of the 
said town as originally laid off in the year one thousand 
seven hundred and ninety-one, be made by the commission- 
ers and lodged in the office of the register of the county 
of Knox for the benefit of all persons concerned, with their 
names as commissioners subscribed thereto. And that it 
be the duty of the said commissioners to designate the first 
and second corners by the fixture of a stone or stones at 
each corner, at least eighteen inches in the ground, and six 
above, and to use good care that the same be not removed 
or defaced." 


In no way have men ever gained more certain and last- 
ing remembrance than by founding cities, and instances 
have occurred where the founder of a city being uncertain 
or his identity lost in the early dawn of time, that legend 
and tradition have ascribed the founding to some man or 
deity who has thus come down to us clothed in the honors 
of antiquity. 

In America, we not only join in that age-old honor the 
world has always given to men who found cities, but we 
have, from the beginning of our government, acted upon 
the idea that we were conferring high honor upon our great 
men by giving to cities their names. We have called Wash- 
ington for George Washington; Jefferson City for Thomas 

Andrew Jackson and Eari,y Tennessee History 5 1 

Jefferson ; Houston for Sam Houston ; Jackson for Andrew 
Jackson; Knoxville for General Knox; Nashville for Gen- 
eral Nash; Hamilton for Alexander Hamilton; Tyler for 
John Tyler; Austin for Stephen Austin; and numerous 
other instances readily suggest themselves. 

In the National Gallery in London there hangs one of 
the world's greatest paintings by Turner entitled "Dido 
Building Carthage," the scene of which represents Dido, 
the beautiful Queen and her attendants, standing amid 
the progressing construction of Carthage, which in later 
years, as a great cosmopolitan city, was to rival Rome 
herself. Dido laid out the boundaries of Carthage which 
she founded, by strips cut from a bull's hide, and the city 
was destined to increase in wealth and population and ter- 
ritory until it could challenge the Imperial City of Rome 
to combat upon both land and sea. 

Mythology tells us that Romulus was nourished by a 
she wolf, and that he founded Imperial Rome, the Eternal 
City and Mistress of the World, whose long arms held do- 
minion over lands and peoples from the Pillars of Hercules 
on the west to the Persian Gulf on the east, and whose 
legions bore the eagles, the emblem of her unconquerable 
power, throughout the world. Romulus and Rome will live, 
joined together in immortality coequal with the existence 
of the sons and daughters of men upon the earth. 

Constantinople will always bear witness that the Em- 
peror Constantine the Great was its founder, and gave it 
his name, as well as gave his allegiance to the Cross as the 
emblem of the religion of the Gallilean ; and it will continue 
as it has for sixteen hundred years past, in whatever hands 
fallen, the city of the imperial ruler. Constantine called 
into existence a city which, while others have flourished or 
decayed, must live while land and sea and the ambitions 
of men guide the steps of human destiny. 

Peter the Great gave his name to St. Petersburg, the 
capital of the Russian Empire which he ordered into ex- 
istence, and without more to recall him, the great ruler will 
live on. 

These are some of the great mythological and historical 
founders. Men in other lands and ages have founded cities, 

52 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

some great and some small, but in no case has the founder 
ever been forgotten. 

General James White did not found a Carthage or a 
Rome or a Constantinople or a St. Petersburg, but he did 
something that was great in its help to American prog- 
ress: he made himself the torch-bearer of white civiliza- 
tion by building Knoxville upon its hills, one of the first 
cities planned and founded in the Mississippi valley, and 
thereby wrung from the savage his dominion over the val- 
ley of East Tennessee, and pushed forward the outposts 
that led in the deadly combat between the white man and 
the red. 

He did more than that. He founded a family that in 
the one hundred and twenty-five years since he gave Knox- 
ville its being, has illustrated from generation to genera- 
tion, all the refined, cultured virtues that have endowed the 
old families of the south with a prestige and character that 
no change of conditions, ideals or tendencies, can lower or 
destroy; and that to the social and business life of Knox- 
ville where members have lived ever since the city was 
founded, have given always the best that was in them, which 
was much. 

It seems strange that at no time except in the memoir 
of Hugh Lawson White by Nancy Scott, a great-grand- 
daughter of Gen. James White, has any attempt been made 
to put the life of General White in some permanent form 
by which any one so desiring could become acquainted with 
the record of the founder of Knoxville. Except in news- 
paper articles, few in number, there has been no effort 
made to perpetuate in any detail what General White did 
in the world ; and what he did is eminently worthy of per- 
petuating. The City of Knoxville which he founded, is now 
moving up to 100,000 population, yet that population knows 
practically nothing about the man that brought the city into 
being. The author has passed his entire life with the ex- 
ception of a few of the earliest years in Knoxville, and it 
is a pleasure to put in book form where it is hoped it will 
be perpetuated, something about the pure, courageous, man- 
ly and upright patriot who served his country, his State, 
and the city which he founded, in the days that tried men's 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 53 

General James White was born in Iredell County, North 
Carolina, in the year 1747, and on April 14th, 1770, he mar- 
ried Mary Lawson, the daughter of Hugh Lawson of North 
Carolina. These two names, Mary Lawson, and Hugh Law- 
son, have been continued among the descendants and con- 
nections of General White down to this day. The following 
children were born to the couple. 

Margaret, who married Colonel Charles McClung; 

Hugh Lawson, who married, first, Elizabeth Carrick; 
second, Mrs. Ann E. Peyton ; 

Moses, who married Isabella McNutt; 

Andrew ; 

Mary McConnell, who married, first, Dr. Francis May; 
second, Judge John Overton, who was one of the Supreme 
Judges of Tennessee and the lifelong friend and adviser of 
Andrew Jackson; 

Cynthia, who married General Thomas A. Smith ; 

Melinda, who married Colonel John Williams. 

Some of these have descendants now living in Knoxville. 

General White served his country in the Revolutionary 
War, and was Captain in the North Carolina militia in 
1779-1781. After locating land in and near Knoxville, he 
returned to North Carolina and moved his family to Fort 
Chiswell, Virginia, and planted a crop there, and in 1785 
he moved his family to the present Knox County, Tennes- 
see, and settled above the junction of the French Broad 
and Holston Rivers, from which locality he moved to Knox- 
ville in 1786. He was a member of the Franklin Legisla- 
ture and also of the Territorial House of Representatives. 

While General White had reached the age of thirty-nine 
years when he came to Knoxville, he had not attained any 
special prominence or importance either as a man of wealth 
or in the public service of his country. That his service 
in the Revolutionary War was faithful goes without say- 
ing, but that which entitles him to be remembered by poster- 
ity was done after making his permanent home in this State. 
Admirers of Governor John Sevier will be glad to know that 
General White was a loyal friend of the Governor at all 
times, and never swerved in his friendship and support. 
When the State of Franklin collapsed in 1788, General 

54 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

White was elected a representative of Hawkins County in 
the Legislature of North Carolina that sat in 1789. He 
was also a delegate to the North Carolina Convention on 
November 21 which ratified the Federal Constitution, and 
thereby made North Carolina one of the sisterhood of 

The friendship between General White and Governor 
William Blount seems to have been as cordial and loyal as 
that between the General and Governor Sevier; and Gov- 
ernor Blount, by virtue of his authority as Territorial Gov- 
ernor, appointed General White, who was then Captain 
White, a Justice of the Peace and Major, and selected 
White's Fort as the seat of government, changing its name 
to Knoxville. Governor Blount also gave him the appoint- 
ment of Lieutenant Colonel Commandant. After Knox 
County was established on June 11, 1792, General White as 
a Justice of the Peace and member of the Court of Pleas 
and Quarter Sessions, which corresponds to our present 
County Court, was elected Chairman of the Court, and 
filled the position for a long time. When the Cherokees 
started on their expedition to destroy Knoxville and butch- 
er its inhabitants, General White at the head of forty men 
took charge of the defense of the town and its people. 

General White donated the land upon which Blount Col- 
lege, founded in 1794, was located, and also the land upon 
which the First Presbyterian Church and the adjoining 
cemetery now stand. Blount College was located on the 
block in the City of Knoxville on which Knoxville's first 
high building — the Knoxville Bank and Trust Company 
Building — stands, the block being bounded by Gay and 
State Streets, and Clinch and Church Avenues. 

When the Convention met to form a constitution for 
the State of Tennessee, General White was a member of 
the Convention from Knox County, and was a State Sena- 
tor in the first Legislature that met in 1796, and was Speak- 
er of the Senate the next year. 

One of the fine things in his record which exhibits him 
as a man of gratitude, was when he resigned his position 
as Speaker of the Senate and member of that body from 
Knox County, in order that William Blount, who had been 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 55 

expelled from the United States Senate, might step into his 
shoes as Senator and Speaker, which he did. 

In 1798 the United States government appropriated 
$25,880.00 for the purpose of the negotiation of a settle- 
ment of the boundary between the Cherokees and the whites. 
Some of the white settlers had crossed what was known as 
the Experimental Line, and the Federal Government had 
ordered a removal of the trespassers, and proposed a treaty 
with the Cherokees to define the boundary. 

General White was named one of the representatives of 
Tennessee by Governor Sevier, as shown on the executive 

"James White, Brigadier-General of the District of 
Hamilton, commissioned as Agent on the part of the State 
of Tennessee, with full power to attend the treaty which the 
President of the United States has authorized to be held 
with the Cherokees, and there to state the obligations of the 
United States to extinguish the Cherokee claim to such 
lands as have been granted to individuals by the State of 
North Carolina, and in all things to represent the interests 
of the State of Tennessee." 

Col. Thomas Butler, and George Walton, Esq., repre- 
sented the United States in the negotiations with the Chero- 

Two meetings were held, and the last meeting at Tellico 
Blockhouse on September 20, 1798, was successful, and the 
boundary was agreed upon and the treaty provided that it 
should be marked. The Cherokees received for their ces- 
sion of territory five thousand dollars, and an annuity of 
one thousand dollars. 

General White was re-elected to the Senate in 1801- 
1803 and made Speaker. 

He was made Brigadier-General of the District of Ham- 
ilton, created by Governor Blount, in 1793, consisting of 
Knox and Jefferson Counties, and in 1813 in the Creek War 
he took part as a Brigadier-General in the State of Ala- 
bama. He died in Knoxville August 14, 1821, and his wife, 
Mary Lawson, died March 10th, 1819, and they are both 
buried in the grave-yard of the First Presbyterian Church, 
which he haTl donated many years before his death. 

56 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 


The Knoxville Register, published by Frederick S. 
Heiskell and Hugh Brown, went into mourning upon the 
death of General White, the founder of the town, and its 
issue of August 21, 1821, came out in heavy black lines, 
with a lengthy obituary notice, from which the following 
is given as a contemporary opinion of the founder : 

"DIED: — On Tuesday evening last, General James 
White of this vicinity in the seventy-third year of his age. 

"General White was one of the earliest settlers in this 
part of the country and from the first has been its steady 
friend and benefactor. In its civil, military and ecclesiasti- 
cal concerns he has taken a distinguished part, and has ac- 
quitted himself with fidelity and usefulness in the numerous 
public situations in which he has been called to act. This 
town particularly has cause to remember him with grati- 
tude and veneration. He was its founder and patron, and 
ever watched over its interest with the disinterestedness 
and affection of a parent. 

"But however eminent have been the public services of 
General White, and however honorable the offices with 
which the gratitude of his fellow citizens has endeavored 
to reward them, it is principally to his private character 
that we shall confine our remarks, because it is in his pri- 
vate character that all classes may contemplate his exam- 
ple with benefit. 

"In domestic life he was an affectionate husband and 
tender father, a humane master and a hearty friend. His 
disinterestedness was eminent; for amidst many opportuni- 
ties of amassing property he remained contented with a 
competency. ... He loved justice, but he also loved 
peace; and through his good offices many litigations have 
been amicably settled which without such interference 
would have been decided only in a court of law." 


It will bring conditions of pioneer life very close to 
General White's descendants in Knoxville to reflect that his 
sister, Mrs. Joseph Wilson, and her six children, were cap- 
tured by the Indians in Sumner County, Tennessee, on the 
night of June 26, 1792, at Zeigler's Station. Hearing of the 
capture of Mrs. Wilson and her children, General White 
sent a message to the Cherokees and by paying a ransom 
procured the release of the mother and five of the children, 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 57 

and they were returned to their home. But one daughter 
had been taken to the Creek Nation where she was held for 
many years, but was ultimately restored to her people. 

We have no record of what was paid for the release 
either of Mrs. Wilson and the five children, or for the 
daughter who had been taken to the Creek Nation. 

The attack on Zeigler's Station was made by a large 
force of Creeks, Cherokees and Chickamaugas, and the Sta- 
tion was burned and Jacob Zeigler was burned to death 
with it. Four persons were killed and Captain Joseph Wil- 
son was wounded; two children of Jacob Zeigler and nine 
other persons were captured. Mrs. Zeigler escaped with one 
child in the darkness. 


One hundred and twenty-four summers have come and 
gone since General White sent the following autograph let- 
ter to Lieutenant Robert Rhea, the original of which, in the 
handwriting of General White, is in the possession of his 
great-great-grandson, Calvin M. McClung, of Knoxville. It 
is an exact copy of the original in all respects, and is here 
published for the first time : 

"Sir : You will Collect Your troop of Horse & take the 
track of the Horses taken from Caldwells And Do your 
best to Overtake the thieves & Chastise them & Retake the 
Horses if possible. You will Continue on duty for this tour 

not to Exceed ten days 

(signed) James White. 

Sept. 9th 1793 

Leut. Robert Rhea 


At the advanced age of sixty-five General White did the 
duty of a Brigadier General under Major-General Andrew 
Jackson in the Creek War, and the following letter signed 
by General White — the body of the letter in the autograph 
of another and the original being in the possession also of 
his great-great-grandson, Calvin M. McClung, of Knox- 
ville, and now published for the first time — indicates the 
General's activity even at his advanced age. The spelling, 

58 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

punctuation and capitalization are all identical with the 

original : 

"Hiwassee Garrison Octr 6th 1813 
"Major Genl. Andrew Jackson 

"I arrived here two days since with a detachment of 
my Brigade near eight hundred and fifty strong more than 
four Hundred and fifty Infantry the Ballance Mounted In- 
fantry say near three hundred and near one hundred Caval- 
ry all well Armed not a want of more than twenty Guns 
there is besides this force two hundred men from Genl. 
Coulters Brigade close by us and a number more coming 
on — I have formed my detachment into two Battallions the 
foot in one the Mounted Infantry in another I am directed 
by Genl. Cock to correspond with you — I am informed by 
old Mr. Rily the bearer that his son has a Quantity of gun 
Powder at Huntsville would it not be well to secure it as the 
Indians are in want who is to assist us in the expidition 
"there is a Boat load of flour Purchased by Genl. Cook 
which can be sent to Ditto's landing when it may be want- 
ing all supplies that can be obtained here will be provided 
ready to decend the River at the shortest notice" procure 
all the lead you can as it is not plenty here — Collo. Meigs 
shows every disposition to give aid to the friendly Indians 
and encourage the expidition I shall take every opportunity 
to write and advise you of my strength and situation 
"I am Sir with Great Respect 
"James White 
"Brigadier Genl. — 
Major Genl. Andrew Jackson." 


Hugh Lawson White, the son of General James White, 
was born in Iredell County, North Carolina, October 30, 
1773, and came to Knoxville in 1781. When he was twenty 
years old he became private secretary to Territorial Gov- 
ernor William Blount. In 1801 he was elected Judge of 
the Superior Court of Tennessee ; in 1807 he was a member 
of the Tennessee State Senate; in 1809 United States Dis- 
trict Attorney, and also a member of the State Senate, 
when he was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court of Er- 
rors and Appeals and held the position until 1815. On 
leaving the Supreme Bench he became President of the 
Bank of Tennessee, and in 1817 was again elected to the 
State Senate. The list of positions held by him is long, 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 59 

and testifies the public confidence in his high ability and 
fine integrity. In 1825 he was elected to the United States 
Senate to succeed Andrew Jackson. He was elected to the 
United States Senate three times. White was six years 
younger than General Jackson, and the friendship between 
the two dates from White's first entry upon the legal pro- 
fession, and continued for something like a quarter of a 
century. At the close of General Jackson's term as Presi- 
dent in 1837, White was a candidate for President of the 
United States, and carried the States of Tennessee and 
Georgia. He was one of the purest men in the public life 
of his day; neither his personal nor his official character 
was ever questioned ; his integrity was spotless, and he had 
the unbounded respect of everyone who knew him. He died 
April 10, 1840. 


General James White's grandson, George M. White, now 
many years deceased, was Mayor of Knoxville in 1852-1853, 
and afterwards Recorder of the city for so many years 
that he came to be regarded as one of the city's institutions. 
He was one of those old time, old fashioned gentlemen, the 
very salt of the earth, whose type is becoming extinct in 
American life, and who, in the simplicity of his life and 
conduct, in a magnificent integrity and uprightness which 
were elemental with him, and in a whole-hearted devotion 
to every duty, begot the esteem that caused every citizen 
of Knoxville to be proud of him, and that furnishes ample 
ground for his descendants to cherish his memory for all 


There has always been some confusion in Tennessee his- 
tory over the fact that there were two James Whites of 
prominence, references to whom being generally construed 
as being to one and the same person, namely, General James 
White. There was a James White of Davidson County, 
who, as far as we know, was no connection of the founder 
of Knoxville. He was born in Philadelphia June 6, 1749, 
moved to North Carolina and later to Tennessee, where he 
married. Davidson County elected him as its representa- 
tive in the House of the first Territorial Legislature, and 

60 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

he took his seat in that body August 25, 1794, and he and 
William Cocke, afterwards a United States Senator, formed 
the House Committee on the Judiciary. This James White 
studied divinity, law, and medicine, and was known as 
"Doctor White." He introduced a bill into the Legislature 
to establish a college at Greeneville, which became a law. 

On September 3, 1794, Dr. White was elected by the 
two houses of the Territorial Legislature as a delegate to 
Congress and he took his seat in that body November 18, 
1794, and represented Tennessee until he was succeeded by 
Andrew Jackson December 5, 1796, as the first representa- 
tive of Tennessee as a State. In 1799 he moved to Louis- 
iana, became Judge of Attakapas County and died in 
Louisiana in December, 1809. He was the father of Ed- 
ward Douglas White, who was a Congressman for five terms 
from Louisiana and Governor of that State 1835 to 1839, 
and grandfather of the present Chief Justice of the Su- 
preme Court of the United States, Edward Douglas White. 

Dr. White and Governor White, his son, and Chief Jus- 
tice White, his grandson, were all members of the Roman 
Catholic Church. 



















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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 61 



Knoxville was originally laid off by General James White 
on a plat that contained 10 streets and 64 lots, which com- 
prised the entire town. The streets began at the river and 
running parallel with it were as follows : First, First Street 
now Front Avenue ; second, Second Street now Hill Avenue ; 
third, Third Street now Main Avenue ; fourth, Fourth Street 
now Cumberland Avenue; fifth, Fifth Street now Church 
Avenue. These streets were approximately one hundred 
yards distant from each other. 

Beginning on the east, the first street was Race, after- 
wards Water now Central Street; second, Arch now State 
Street; third, Market now Gay Street; fourth, Chestnut now 
Market Street; and the fifth was Crooked now Walnut 

The lots were numbered from one to sixty-four, and lot 
Number 1 was at the southwest corner of Water — Central — 
and Front Streets, which would be close to the mouth of 
First Creek, and to the point where Governor Blount and 
the Indian chiefs negotiated and agreed upon the treaty of 
Holston. Each lot was one-fourth of a square or block, 
which would make them about 150 feet square. 

The beginning of building operations in the town was in 
the neighborhood of lot Number 1, and the progress was 
from that point north and west. There is no evidence of 
building operations east of First Creek for some time after 
the city was founded, and it is impossible to fix the date 
when houses were started south of the river. The earliest 
deeds for lots in this original plan of Knoxville were made 
by General White in 1792. 


In 1795 General White laid out the first addition to Knox- 
ville which consisted of fifty-six lots. His original plan w r as 

62 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

extended north from the present Church Avenue to Clinch 
Avenue, and contained four blocks with sixteen lots. It 
extended west two blocks beyond the present Walnut Street, 
the first street west being New Street now Locust, and the 
next being West Street now Henley. There were ten blocks 
west of the original plan containing forty lots; there were 
fourteen blocks and fifty-six lots altogether in the first Addi- 
tion, and the blocks and lots were substantially of the same 
size as in the original plan. 


In 1816 Colonel John Williams laid out the plan of Wil- 
liamsburg which joined on the west General White's first 
addition, and Williamsburg contained thirty-six lots. It 
began with West now Henley Street, and its next street go- 
ing west was High Street now South Broad Street ; the next 
was Poplar Street, and the next Water now Churchwell 
Street. Water Street was close to Second Creek. Begin- 
ning at the river on the south there was a strip of ground 
not laid off into lots and known as "Hugh Lawson White's 
land." Williamsburg does not seem to have had a street on 
its south side fronting the river ; its next street going north 
was Rock now Front Street; the next Hill Street now Hill 
Avenue ; the next Spring, now Emmerson Avenue ; the next 
Market now Main Avenue. 

General^ described, Williamsburg lay between the pres- 
ent Main Avenue and Hugh Lawson White's land along the 
Holston River, and between the present Henley Street and 
Second Creek. 

The blocks and lots were not of regular size owing to 
the shape of the land which was laid out; a majority of the 
blocks and lots appear, however, to be of the same size as in 
General White's plans, but some were larger and some 
smaller than in those plans. 


Hugh Dunlap was born in Londonderry County, Ireland, 
November 5, 1769, and died at Paris, Tennessee, October 
10, 1846 ; he came to America at an early age and settled in 
Tennessee. He was the father of Richard G. Dunlap, the 










































































i u A 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 63 

first child born in Knoxville. He moved to Roane County 
in 1809, and lived upon a farm which is the present site 
of Rockwood. In 1825 he settled at Paris in Henry County, 
Tennessee. In 1842 an agitation was begun for the cele- 
bration of the semi-centennial anniversary of Knoxville, and 
this called forth a letter from Hugh Dunlap upon the found- 
ing of Knoxville, of which the following is a part, the letter 
being too long to quote in full: 

"Paris, Tenn., January 19, 1842. 
"Mr. Eastman. 

"Dear Sir: In your paper of the 22nd ult. and the 5th 
inst. I observed arrangements making for the celebration 
of the semi-centennial anniversary of Knoxville. I am the 
only man, whom I know to be alive, who was living there 
when the lots were laid off. It would be a source of un- 
mixed pleasure to be present at the celebration, if my health 
and the weather permitted. I could not conceive a higher 
gratification than to meet at the festive board the children 
of those adventurous and worthy men who first settled 
Knoxville, and who were the most endeared to me by the 
very perils incident to its settlement. 

"At the treaty of Holston, in 1791, there were no houses 
except shantees put up for the occasion to hold Govern- 
ment stores. General James White lived in the neighbor- 
hood and had a blockhouse to guard his family. At the 
treaty of the Holston they used river water entirely, until 
Trooper Armstrong discovered the spring to the right of 
the street leading from the courthouse to what is now called 
'Hardscrabble.' He at that time requested General White, 
in a jest, to let him have the lot including the spring when a 
town was laid off; and when the town was laid off the gen- 
eral preserved the lot and made him a deed to it — these 
facts were told me by General White himself, for I Was not 
present at the treaty. I left Philadelphia, with my goods, 
in December, 1891, and did not reach Knoxville until about 
the first of February, 1792. I deposited my goods and kept 
store in the house used by the Government at the treaty, 
although I believe that the treaty itself was made in the 
open air. At the time I reached Knoxville, Samuel and 
Nathaniel Cowan had goods there. John Chisholm kept a 
house of entertainment, and a man named McLemee was 
living there. These men, with their families, constituted 
the inhabitants of Knoxville, when I went there. Governor 
Blount lived on Barbary Hill, a knoll below College Hill, 
and between it and the river. 

64 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"The principal settlements in the county were on Beaver 
Creek. All the families lived in forts pretty much in those 
days; and, when the fields were cultivated, there was al- 
ways a guard stationed around them for protection. There 
was a fort at Campbell's Station, which was the lowest set- 
tlement in East Tennessee. The next fort and settlement 
were at Blackburn's, west of the Cumberland Mountains; 
the next at Fort Blount, on the Cumberland River; and 
then the French Lick, now Nashville. 

"The land on which Knoxville is built belonged to Gen- 
eral White. In February, 1792, Colonel Charles McClung 
surveyed the lots and laid off the town; I do not recollect 
on what day of the month. It excited no particular inter- 
est at the time. The whole town was then in a thicket of 
brushwood and grape-vines, except a small portion in front 
of the river, where all the business was done. There was 
never any regular public sale of the lots: General White 
sold anybody a lot who would settle on it and improve it, 
for eight dollars; and in this way and at this price, the 
lots were generally disposed of. 

"I beg you to excuse the length of this letter. I cannot 
think of those early times without in some degree living 
them over again. I understand a distinguished literary gen- 
tleman of your county is collecting the materials to write the 
early history of Tennessee. I hope he may not falter in an 
undertaking where the materials are so rich and the fame 
so certain. 

"Very respectfully, 

"Hugh Dunlap." 

When North Carolina ceded the territory of the pres- 
ent State of Tennessee to the United States, Congress by 
Act passed May 25, 1790, organized the territory under 
the name of "Territory of the United States South of the 
River Ohio" and the Honorable William Blount, at that 
time living in the State of North Carolina, was commis- 
sioned as Governor of this territory by George Washing- 
ton August 7, 1790; and part of his title also was "Superin- 
tendent of Indian Affairs." Daniel Smith was appointed 
Secretary to the Governor; he married a daughter of John 
Donelson, and succeeded Andrew Jackson in the United 
States Senate. 

The first habitation established in Knoxville was by 
General James White in 1786, and was called "White's 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 65 

Fort," and the locality carried that name until the name 
of Knoxville was adopted. White's Fort was, like all other 
residences of the time, log cabins heavily timbered, con- 
nected together by palisades for protection against the In- 
dians, and these cabins were proof against rifle and pis- 
tol fire, which were the weapons generally in use at that 

General White had been a Revolutionary soldier and 
had received from North Carolina land warrants in pay- 
ment for his services in the Revolutionary War; and, in 
company with Robert Love and Frank A. Ramsey, the fa- 
ther of the historian Ramsey, began an exploration to find 
desirable land upon which to locate their warrants. General 
White was taken with the locality where he established his 
fort, and located it near State Street, between Union and 
Commerce Streets. Prior thereto, he temporarily lived 
above the junction of the Holston and French Broad Riv- 
ers. One is inclined to wonder why he did not locate his 
fort and the future city at the junction of these two rivers, 
one of the most beautiful localities in the world. 

Governor Blount first came into the territory October 
10, 1790, and took up his residence at Mr. Cobb's near 
Washington Court House, established Knoxville as the seat 
of the territorial government, and first made his residence 
there in March 1792; and the first house that he occupied 
was a cabin between the present University and the river. 
Subsequently he built the frame residence which was the 
first frame building west of the Alleghaney Mountains at 
the corner of State Street and Hill Avenue, and which re- 
mains to-day in the exact shape that it was originally built. 
This date is not absolutely certain but was probably 1793. 
It was considered a splendid mansion at the time. 

Barbara Blount, the Governor's daughter, was married 
to Major General Edmond P. Gaines, of the United States 
Army, in this house. The hill on which the University of 
Tennessee is now located was at one time called "Barbara 
Hill" in her honor. 

The Governor's residence passed from him to McClung, 
and from McClung to M. M. Gaines, both members of prom- 
inent families in Knoxville, and from Gaines to Judge Sam- 

66 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee Histdry 

uel B. Boyd, in April 1845, he being at that time one of the 
regular judges of Tennessee who was called, at different 
times, to preside as a special judge in the Supreme Court 
of the State. Judge Boyd has numerous descendants in the 
city of Knoxville, and they constitute one of the fine old 
families of the city. Not only during Governor Blount's 
administration, but always afterwards, this residence was 
the scene of generous hospitality, and in it have been en- 
tertained probably more prominent men than in any other 
private residence in Knoxville. 

The historians are unanimously cordial and highly 
laudatory in everything that they write about Governor 
Blount and his family, and all agree that the Governor 
was a man of handsome, pleasing personality, with fine so- 
cial qualities, affable and receptive to strangers ; altogether, 
a most fitting man for the position he occupied. With the 
exception of John Sevier, he was the most popular man 
in the territory west of the mountains. His family were 
of the refined, elevated, courteous type, and worthy of its 
head. One cannot but wonder why a man of the Govern- 
or's type, with such a family, would be willing to go to the 
very limits of the white settlements and live there. His 
services in building up the territory of Tennessee were 
great and unqualified, and his name will go down in the 
history of the State along with John Sevier. He and his 
wife are buried in the yard of the First Presbyterian Church 
in Knoxville. 


One of the most important acts of Governor Blount 
during his six years' administration was the treaty made 
with the Cherokee chiefs at the foot of Water Street (now 
Central Street) on the river bank, in Knoxville. 

Governor Blount had been attempting to procure a last- 
ing peace between the Cherokee Indians and the people of 
the United States. He had sent Major King with an in- 
vitation to the chiefs to meet him to consider a treaty, but 
the Indians had been intimidated by the suggestion from 
an enemy that Governor Blount intended to assemble them 
together and have them killed; and it was made necessary 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 67 

for General James Robertson, who had their confidence, 
to go among them, and undeceive them. At first, the In- 
dians proposed to meet at the junction of the Holston and 
French Broad Rivers, but they at length yielded to Governor 
Blount, who preferred to meet at the foot of the present 
Central Street. 

The Governor had an eye to the Indian love of cere- 
monial, color, and dress, so he wore a military hat and a 
sword, and Trooper James Armstrong was Master of Cere- 
monies, and the Indian chiefs were brought forward with 
great ceremony, and each presented to the Governor by his 
aboriginal name. An interpreter in Indian costume intro- 
duced each chief to Armstrong, who in turn, presented him 
to the Governor, and there were forty-one of the chiefs. 
There were 1,200 other Indians upon the ground, some of 
whom were women and children. 

Around the Governor stood his civil and military offi- 
cers; the Indian braves were decorated with eagle feathers 
and other decorations of their rank, but were unarmed. The 
body of the Indians wore the ordinary Indian dress. 

The Governor made the first speech to his picturesque 
audience through an interpreter, he standing in their midst, 
while the Indians sat around upon the ground, silent, but 
giving close attention. Squollecuttah, Kunoskeski, Auquo- 
tague, Ninetooyah, are said, by Ramsey, to have been the 
principal speakers, and that Chuquelatague seemed sullen, 
and signed the treaty reluctantly. It must have been a 
diverting spectacle to see Trooper Armstrong present these 
five to the Governor, and to hear how he pronounced their 
names. Trooper Armstrong — James Armstrong — had seen 
service in Europe and was familiar with foreign manners, 
and seems to have acquitted himself on this occasion to the 
satisfaction of both the Governor and the Indians; but 
posterity will never cease to wonder just how he pronounced 
those five Indian names! 

Governor Blount's conference with the Indians would 
furnish some great historical painter a subject worthy of 
the very best achievements of his art. The picture ought 
to be painted, and incorporated not only in the histories, 
but in the school books of Tennessee. 

68 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

The Sons of the American Revolution in the courthouse 
yard at Knoxville, Tennessee, at a point south of General 
Sevier's monument, have erected a marker, commemorating' 
the making and signing of this treaty, and on the marker 
is the following inscription : 

"Commemorating the Treaty of Holston, signed by Gov- 
ernor William Blount and 41 Chiefs and Warriors on the 
site of the home of Governor Blount, corner of Hill Avenue 
and State Street, Knoxville, July 2, 1791. Erected by the 
Sons of the American Revolution July 2, 1908." 

By this treaty peace and friendship was established be- 
tween the United States and the Cherokee nation, and the 
Cherokees agreed to deliver to Governor Blount all prison- 
ers in their possession, and the boundaries between the In- 
dians and the white men were duly set out. Governor 
Blount paid the Indians for the territory which they con- 
veyed, goods, and an annuity of one thousand dollars. The 
Indians further agreed that citizens of the United States 
should not be molested in the use of the road from Wash- 
ington to Middle Tennessee, and should have the navigation 
of the Tennessee River. 

Later, on December 27, 1791, a delegation of Chero- 
kees arrived in Philadelphia to make a claim for a larger 
annuity than Governor Blount had granted, and a Confer- 
ence ensued with the President, and an additional five hun- 
dred dollars a year was agreed upon, to which the Senate 


It is hard, in our day, to conceive the life led by the 
original inhabitants of Knoxville, when they lived always 
in the gloom and shadow of an expected Indian attack, or 
in grief and suffering for those that were slain or scalped. 

The site of the first blockhouse in Knoxville was in the 
courthouse yard where the John Sevier monument now 
stands, and the blockhouse was erected in 1792. 

On February 5, 1902, at four o'clock in the afternoon, 
a marker was unveiled by Admiral Winfield Scott Schley, 
at the request of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 
by removing an old, torn, United States flag, once used by 
Admiral Farragut. Exercises were held by the Daughters 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 69 

of the American Revolution connected with the unveiling, 
and Admiral Schley made a short address. Honorable Ben- 
ton McMillin, Governor of Tennessee, was the orator of 
the day, and spoke at length. A large crowd was present. 
Admiral Schley said: 

"Miss Regent, Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, 
I may say, my dear Friends : I am very glad indeed to be 
face to face with you all this afternoon, and am glad to 
commemorate for this Chapter the First Blockhouse erect- 
ed in this beautiful city of Knoxville. 

"The Daughters of the American Revolution are a beau- 
tiful and lovingly patriotic organization. Its members are 
magnificent women, and their mothers must have been 
women conspicuous for their beauty, piety and determina- 

" 'The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world' we 
are frequently told, and there is no doubt of it; the ten- 
der love of mother helps us all. I know it has helped me. 
I know that the girl whom I courted thirty-eight years ago, 
and who has been my faithful, sweet wife since, is nearer 
and dearer to me every day of my life. 

"The two days I have been among your hospitable peo- 
ple I will always tenderly regard as sweet souvenirs of my 

Governor Benton McMillin followed Admiral Schley 
in an extended speech covering the early history of Ten- 
nessee, the development of the State, and its present wealth 
and power, and he concluded with a handsome tribute to 
Admiral Schley in connection with the defeat of Cervera 
at the Bay of Santiago. 

Treaties did not always bind those that made them, 
especially Indian treaties, and in 1793 the little settlement 
of Knoxville had an experience that for a while looked as 
if it would end in eliminating the settlement entirely. 

Governor Blount was unceasing in trying to permanent- 
ly placate the Indians, something which John Sevier knew 
could never be done. The Governor entertained in his own 
house for eight or ten days a Cherokee chief. Finally it 
became apparent that there would be an attack by the 
Cherokees and Creeks jointly upon the settlement at Knox- 
ville in the latter part of 1793. For a time after the Treaty 
of Holston there was a cessation of violent outbreaks, but 

70 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

murders, and horse-stealing and other criminal acts were 
carried on, demonstrating that between the Indian and 
the white man there was an irreconcilable issue that could 
be settled only by the elimination of one or the other from 
the land ; in the end, the Indian had to go, but the measure 
of his retaliation upon the white settlers was frequent, 
atrocious and horrible. 

The proposed assault upon Knoxville was one of the 
strongest and most malignant in early Indian history, and 
was prevented only by differences among the Indians them- 
selves. The story of this assault is best told by Professor 
Stephen Foster, who is quoted in part by Ramsey as having 
read an essay upon it before the East Tennessee Historical 
and Antiquarian Society, and who, it seems, published it 
in fuller form in the Knoxville Register of September 21, 
1831. Every resident of Knoxville would do well to read 
in full what Professor Foster says, as it throws a wonder- 
ful light upon what our ancestors had to meet and conquer 
in dark pioneer days. 


"On the road from Knoxville to Major Joseph Martin's 
is passed Joseph Lonas' on the creek, the formerly cele- 
brated Cavet's Station. This Cavet's Station was nothing 
but the log-house dwelling of a family of thirteen persons 
in the days of Indian havoc and bloodshed. It is eight miles 
below Knoxville, and seven miles above Campbell's Station. 
This latter station was one of the chief forts of the coun- 
try, containing as many as twenty families, and assuming 
an air and attitude of defense which inspired courage with- 
in itself, and extended to the savages that prowled around 
it a salutary respect for the prowess of its interior. 

"In 1793 a party of Creeks and Cherokees, from 900 
to 1,500, crossed the Holston, with the design of burning and 
sacking Knoxville. They halted upon the question, 'Shall 
we massacre the whole town, or only the men ?' The Hang- 
ing Maw was a leading man in the councils of his people. 
His opposition to the scheme of an indiscriminate mas- 
sacre was strenuous and weighty. Another circumstance 
is here related. Van, Cherokee chief, possessed a little cap- 
tive boy, that was riding behind him. Doublehead became 
envious at this sight, and picked a quarrel with Van, and 
to satiate his malice, killed the little boy with a sudden 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 71 

stab of his knife. The animosity of these chiefs added hin- 
drance to delay. And before the plan of procedure could 
be satisfactorily adjusted, it was found to be too late to 
arrive at Knoxville before daylight. 

"Then, to avoid an entire failure of their enterprise, 
they repaired to Cavet's as affording the readiest and easi- 
est prey. This establishment they reduced to ashes. Its 
thirteen tenants were slaughtered except one. Cavet him- 
self was found butchered in the garden. Several bullets 
were still lying in his mouth, having been put there for 
convenience of speedily loading his gun. The day of his 
slaughter was the 25th of September. 

"In the meantime intelligence of the contemplated at- 
tack had arrived at Knoxville, and given to the minds of 
its citizens that impulse which is only to be looked for on 
great occasions, when the dignity of a single heroic concep- 
tion is enough to consecrate danger and death. The num- 
ber of fighting men in Knoxville was forty. But it was 
thought preferable to combine this force, and to risk every 
life in a well-concerted effort to strike a deadly and ter- 
rific blow on the advancing enemy, at the outskirts of 
the town, rather than to stand to be hewed down in its 
center by the Indian tomahawk. 

"Gen. James White was then advanced a little beyond 
the prime of manhood, of a muscular body, a vigorous 
constitution, and of that cool and determinate courage 
which arises from a principle of original bravery, con- 
firmed and ennobled by the faith of the Bible. He was the 
projector and leader of the enterprise. Robert Houston, 
Esq., from whose verbal statements the substance of much 
of this narrative is copied, was of the age of twenty-eight, 
and was a personal actor in the scene. 

"It was viewed to be manifest to those who were ac- 
quainted with Indian movements, that the party would 
come up the back way near the present plantation of Mrs. 
Luttrell and Henry Lonas, rather than the straighter 
way now traveled by the stage. The company from Knox- 
ville accordingly repaired to a ridge on that road, which 
now may be inspected about a mile and a quarter from 
Knoxville. This ridge is marked by the irregular and 
shelving rocks of the road, which passes over it. 

"On the side of this ridge next to Knoxville, our com- 
pany was stationed at the distance of twenty steps from 
each other, with orders to reserve their fire till the most 
forward of the Indian party was advanced far enough to 
present a mark for the most eastern man of our party. 
He was then to fire. This fire was to be the signal to every 

72 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

man of our own to take aim wjth precision. This would 
be favored by the halt thus occasioned in the ranks of the 
Indians. And these latter, it was hoped, astonished at the 
sudden and fatal discharge of thirty-eight rifles extended 
over so long a line, would apprehend a most formidable 
ambuscade, and would quit all thought of further aggres- 
sion, and betake themselves to the readiest and safest re- 

"But to provide for the worst, it was settled before- 
hand that each man upon discharging his piece, without 
stopping to watch the flight of the Indians, should make 
the best of his way to Knoxville, lodge himself in the block- 
house then standing at the present mansion of Mr. Ethel- 
dred Williams, where three hundred muskets had been de- 
posited by the United States, and where the two oldest 
citizens of the forty, John McFarland and Robert Williams, 
were left behind to run bullets and load. 

"Here it was proposed to make a last and desperate strug- 
gle ; that, by possessing every porthole in the building and by 
dealing lead and powder through it to the best advantage, 
they might extort from an enemy nearly forty times their 
number, a high price for the hazard of all they had on earth 
that was dear and precious. There were then two stores in 
Knoxville, Nathaniel Cowan's and James Miller's. 

"Though the practical heroism of this well concerted and 
thus far ably conducted stratagem, in consequence of the 
sudden retreat of the enemy, was not put to the test of 
actual experiment, yet an incident fraught with so much 
magnanimity in the early fortunes of Knoxville should not 
be blotted from the records of her fame. It is an incident 
on which the memory of her sons will linger without tiring, 
when the din of party shall be hushed and its strife for- 
gotten. Those men of a former day were 'made of sterner 
stuff' than to shirk from danger at the call of duty. And it 
will be left to the pen of a future historian to do justice to 
that little band of thirty-eight citizens, who flinched not from 
the deliberate exposure of their persons in the open field, 
within the calculated gunshot of fifteen hundred of the fleet- 
est running and boldest savages. 

"This expedition on the part of the Indians, though 
in its issue abortive by their divided councils, was marked 
with singular daring and despatch. They knew that Col. 
Sevier, with a detachment of four. hundred mounted rifle- 
men, ready to ravage their territory, had recently left 
Knoxville and lay at that moment at Ish's Station on the 
south side of the river, about ten miles from Cavet's ; that 
a respectable force lay in garrison at Campbell's station, 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 73 

and that the above-mentioned forty men were at Knoxville. 
Here then were three points from which, at a moment's 
warning, they would be assailed from three different direc- 
tions at once. But they had formed their plan, that by a 
movement too quick for discovery and by a ridge not com- 
monly traveled by our warriors, they would pass the forces 
at Ish's and Campbell's Stations, seizing the favorable mo- 
ment of the absence of Sevier's troops, to fall upon Knox- 
ville entirely unexpected, scalp the inhabitants in their 
beds, pillage the only two little stores in the place, and in 
the light of its blazing ruins, make off with their booty, 
divided into two or three parties, to elude pursuit, prevent 
delay, and make good their escape. 

"The above-mentioned disagreement between their prin- 
cipal chiefs, by the loss of a single hour, like the counsel 
of Hushai in Absolom's rebellion, frustrated the whole proj- 
ect, divested this band of its martial prowess, and sent it 
skulking on its shameful butchery at Cavet's Station. 

"The circumstances of this massacre will strikingly il- 
lustrate the Indian mode of warfare, a singular union of 
cunning, deceit and atrocity, without concert of action or 
unity of plan. For at the beginning of the attack, Cavet's 
house contained three fighting men. These plied their ri- 
fles with such coolness and dexterity that two Indians lay 
dead and three were wounded. The Indians then made a 
temporary halt from the fury of their onset, and employed 
Bob Benge, a man of mixed blood, who spoke English, to 
offer to the garrison terms of surrender. These were very 
favorable, namely, that their lives should be spared and they 
exchanged for as many Indian prisoners then among the 
whites. No sooner were these terms accepted and the pris- 
oners beginning to leave the house, than Doublehead and 
his party fell upon the men and put them to death. He 
treated the women and children w r ith barbarous indelicacy 
and then killed them. John Watts, who was the main lead- 
er of the expedition, interposed and saved one of Cavet's 
sons, and poor Benge, who first proposed the conditions 
of surrender, was all the time striving, to no purpose, to 
check the murderous atrocities of Doublehead. 

"How different this confused havoc from the measured 
discipline of the Roman legion where to fight 'extra or- 
dinem' as Sallust says, that is to overstep the battle line 
and to fight alone in front of it, was an offense to be pun- 
ished with capital severity. 

"When the Indians had accomplished this inglorious 
deed, they made for a well-known house on Beaver Creek, 
twelve miles from Knoxville, now owned by Mr. Callaway. 

74 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

That house had been occupied by Mr. Luke Lea's father. 
That gentleman, from an apprehension of danger, had re- 
moved his family to the present residence of Col. Miller 
Francis, only a week previous to this terrible morning, and 
thus happily saved them from becoming the victims of In- 
dian fury. Some of their bedclothes were still left in the 
house, and the wheat stacks standing by the barns and sta- 
bles. The whole was soon a heap of ashes. 

"The Indians retreated with characteristic speed and 
address. They sought the fastnesses of Clinch, and by a 
brisk march they were soon beyond the reach of immediate 
danger. Danger awaited them still. In three weeks they 
were bearded out of their own den by Sevier's invasion." 


On October 27, 1815, the legislature incorporated the 
inhabitants of the town of Knoxville and on January 30, 
1816, the first meeting of the Board of Aldermen was held 
at the courthouse. Under the act the aldermen elected 
the Mayor from their number, and the First Board of Al- 
dermen consisted of Thomas Emmerson, Thomas McCorry, 
Rufus Morgan, James Park, Thomas Humes, James Dar- 
dis, and John M. Cullen. Thomas Emmerson was elected 
Mayor, Anderson Hutchinson, Recorder, and David Nelson, 
High Constable, and John M. Cullen, Treasurer. 

Rufus Morgan, James Dardis, and Thomas Humes were 
appointed on February 20, 1816, a committee to erect a 
markethouse, which they did, and the dimensions were 
26 feet long, 18 feet wide, and the house was located on the 
present Main Street between Market and Walnut. 

In January, 1839, an election was held for the election 
of a Mayor by popular vote, and W. B. A. Ramsey was win- 
ner, receiving 49 votes to 48 for James Park. 

Beginning with Thomas Emmerson and coming down 
to 1845, the Mayors of the City and the time each held 
office, were as follows : 

Emmerson, Thos January, 1816. 

Emmerson, Thos January, 1817. 

Park, Jas January, 1818. 

Park, Jas January, 1819. 

Park, Jas January, 1820. 

Park, Jas January, 1821. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 75 

Mynatt, Wm. C January, 1822. 

Mynatt, Wm. C January, 1823. 

Park, Jas January, 1824. 

Park, Jas January, 1825. 

Park, Jas January, 1826. 

Mynatt, Wm. C January, 1827. 

Strong, Jos. C January, 1828. 

Strong, Jos. C January, 1829. 

Strong, Jos. C January, 1830. 

Strong, Jos. C January, 1831. 

Mcintosh, Dr. Donald January, 1832. 

Mcintosh, Dr. Donald January, 1833. 

Mcintosh, Dr. Donald * January, 1834. 

Jacobs, Solomon D March, 1834. 

Jacobs, Solomon D * January, 1835. 

Heiskell, Fred S * June, 1835. 

Mynatt, William C November, 1835. 

Mynatt, William C January, 1836. 

King, Dr. Jas January, 1837. 

King, Dr. Jas * January, 1838. 

Ramsey, Wm. B. A February, 1838. 

Ramsey, Wm. B. A ** January, 1839. 

Bell, Samuel January, 1840. 

Bell, Samuel January, 1841. 

Hazen, Gideon M January, 1842. 

Gaines, Matthew M January, 1843. 

Bell, Samuel January, 1844. 

Bell, Samuel January, 1845. 


**First Mayor elected by a popular vote. 


The new municipality started off well in the election 
of its first Mayor, Judge Thomas Emmerson, who was born 
at Lawrenceville Courthouse, Brunswick County, Virginia, 
June 23d, 1773, and died at Jonesboro, Tennessee, July 22d, 
1837. He came to Tennessee in 1800, and succeeded Hugh 
Lawson White in the spring of 1807 as a Judge of the Su- 
perior Court and continued on the bench of that Court un- 
til the fall of 1807, when he resigned. 

He was elected a Trustee of the East Tennessee Col- 
lege, the predecessor of the University of Tennessee, in 
1807, and later was elected Trustee of the Hampden- 
Sydney Academy of Knoxville, and the Knoxville Female 

76 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

He was Mayor of Knoxville in 1816-1817. 

On January 1st, 1910, an act creating the Court of Er- 
rors and Appeals went into effect, and on July 19, 1819, 
Judge Emmerson was elected a Judge of this Court as the 
successor of Archibald Roane, and held the office until 
1822 wlhen he resigned and moved his residence to Jones- 
boro, Tennessee, where he continued the practice of law. 

In 1833 he bought the Washington Republican and 
Farmers Journal and published that for four years. 

He is buried at Jonesboro, Tennessee, in the "Old Cem- 
etery," and his wife is buried beside him. 


The Knoxville Gazette was the first newspaper pub- 
lished in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the third west of the 
Alleghany Mountains, and its first issue appeared Novem- 
ber 5, 1791, at Rogersville, in Hawkins County, where it 
was published for a time under the name of the "Knox- 
ville Gazette." It was moved to Knoxville in 1792 and its 
publication continued until the death of George Roulstone 
in 1804. Bound copies of the Gazette are in the Tennessee 
Historical Society at Nashville. George Roulstone came to 
Tennessee at the suggestion of Governor William Blount 
and he was afterwards printer to both the territorial and 
State legislatures. 

In 1804 George Wilson succeeded Roulstone as the pro- 
prietor of the Knoxville Gazette and called the paper "Wil- 
son's Gazette." He continued the publication of it until 
1818 when he removed to Nashville which had become the 
capital of the State. 

The Knoxville Register is the only one of the Knox- 
ville pioneer newspapers that attained long life and wide 
influence. The following account of The Register and its 
two publishers, Major Frederick S. Heiskell and Hugh 
Brown, is from The History of Knoxville by William Rule, 
now and for many years past editor of the Knoxville Jour- 
nal and Tribune: 


"In the year 1816 on the 3d day of August, Major Fred- 
erick S. Heiskell and Hu. Brown began the publication 

Frederick S. Keiskell, Father of Tennessee Journalism. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 77 

of the Knoxville Register, which continued to be published 
for a longer term of years than any other paper yet pub- 
lished in the city. It suspended publication upon the ar- 
rival of General Burnsicle with the Union army, about the 
first of September, 1863. Its life was within a few days 
of forty-seven years, and in the main it was a distinctly 
honorable career. In this connection a brief sketch of its 
distinguished founders will be proper. and of interest. Major 
Heiskell remained one of the proprietors of The Register 
for about twenty-one years, devoting his whole time, en- 
ergy and ability to its success. He was born in Hagerstown, 
Maryland, but when yet a child his parents removed to 
Shenandoah County, Virginia. He learned the printer's 
trade in the office of his brother, John Heiskell, in Win- 
chester, Virginia, and came to Knoxville in December, 
1814. After working as a journeyman printer something 
less than two years, he, in conjunction with Hu. Brown, 
whose sister he afterwards married, founded The Knox- 
ville Register, a weekly paper. In 1829 Hu. Brown retired 
from the paper and Major Heiskell continued its publi- 
cation until in 1837, when, on account of impaired health, 
he retired to a farm ten miles west of Knoxville, having 
sold his interest in The Register to W. B. A. Ramsey and 
Robert Craighead. While publishing The Register, Major 
Heiskell was intimately acquainted with Hugh Lawson 
White, John Bell, Ephraim H. Foster, James K. Polk and 
other famous men of his time. For years he was a trust- 
ed friend of Andrew Jackson, and fought his earlier po- 
litical battles with characteristic vigor. He also knew Henry 
Clay well and was one of his earnest, sincere supporters. 
In 1847 he was elected to the State Senate, the only office 
he ever held, and distinguished himself as an able, conscien- 
tious and zealous representative of the people's interests. 
He was always a gentleman in his habits and deportment, 
and universally recognized as thoroughly incorruptible. He 
was a public spirited man and took a deep interest in the 
cause of education. He was one of the trustees of the East 
Tennessee Female Institute, and for years up to the date 
of his death, was also one of the trustees of the East Ten- 
nessee University, now University of Tennessee. While 
conducting The Register his counsel and influence was ea- 
gerly sought by men in public life and his advice was al- 
ways received with consideration. His life was long, stren- 
uous and useful. He died at Rogersville, Tennessee, in No- 
vember, 1882. He remained an omnivorous newspaper 
reader to the last, and at the time of his death left twenty 
large scrapbooks made up of clippings which he consid- 

7S Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

ered of value. His partner and brother-in-law, Hu. Brown, 
was also a superior man. He retired from The Register 
in 1829, to accept a professorship in the University of Ten- 
nessee. Under their management the power and influence 
of The Register was second to no paper in the State. It 
was a credit to its publishers and to the section of the coun- 
try in which it circulated. Its proprietors took an active 
part in the politics of the period and made themselves felt 
by friends and by foes. 

"In 1836, contrary to the will and wishes of Andrew 
Jackson, who had been the most influential man in Ten- 
nessee politics, and who had decreed that Martin Van Bur- 
en should be his successor in the Presidential chair, The 
Knoxville Register supported Hugh Lawson White for that 
office. He carried the State, his majority, in spite of Jack- 
son's opposition, being a little more than nine thousand in a 
total vote of 61,000. In the Eastern division of the State, 
Hugh Lawson White carried every county with the ex- 
ception of Greene, Sullivan and Washington, most of them 
by overwhelming majorities. Four years previous to that, 
in 1832, Andrew Jackson had carried every one of the 
counties in East Tennessee. This year, against the influ- 
ence exerted by The Knoxville Register, he could influence 
but three counties to vote for Martin Van Buren. This 
is mentioned as showing the influence of The Register in 
those days. Some of the men who were at times connected 
with The Knoxville Register office afterwards became prom- 
inent in the State. Gen. Felix K. Zollicoffer worked as a 
printer in the office. He afterwards became, as editor of 
the Nashville Republican Banner, one of the best known 
journalists in the South, was elected State comptroller, 
served in the lower house of Congress, and was killed at 
Mill Springs, Kentucky, in February, 1862, while gallantly 
leading a brigade of Confederate soldiers of which he was 
the commander. 

''From John E. Helms, one of the oldest newspaper men 
in the State, it is learned that Major Heiskell, the founder 
of The Register, was the president of the first meeting 
of the Tennessee Press Association. It was held in the 
old Mansion House, an excellent hotel in its day. It stood 
upon the grounds upon which the county courthouse now 
stands. The meeting w!as held about the year 1838." 

In 1878 the Tennessee Press Association met in Knox- 
ville and was addressed by Colonel Moses White, one time 
editor of the Knoxville Tribune, on the subject of Major 
Heiskell. The Tribune was founded in March, 1876, by 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 79 

Colonel Samuel McKinney of Knoxville, as a Democratic 
daily, to take part in the Tilden and Hendricks campaign, 
and in 1898 it was bought by E. J. Sanford of Knoxville 
and combined July 1st, 1898, with the Knoxville Journal, 
founded in 1884, as the Journal and Tribune, and which 
has been continued since that date under that name. 
In his address Colonel White said: 

"The Knoxville Register, the one which became an in- 
stitution of Knoxville, was established in August, 1816, 
by F. S. Heiskell and Hu. Brown. The paper, together with 
the enterprising founders and its long line of worthy pro- 
prietors and able editors, demands more than a passing 
notice. Of its first editors, Heiskell was the active man in 
political matters, and Brown was the literary and mis- 
cellaneous editor. Major Heiskell was born in Hagerstown, 
Maryland, but while he was yet an infant his father moved 
to Shenandoah County, Virginia. There young Heiskell 
grew up and acquired a limited education, worked, after 
he was old enough, on the farm the greater part of the 
year, and attending a subscription school during the win- 
ter season. He was installed as a printer's devil in 1810 
and served as a printer three years or more, when, after a 
short respite, he moved to Knoxville, reaching there Christ- 
mas Day 1814. He obtained a situation as journeyman 
printer on Wilson's Gazette, then the only paper published 
in East Tennessee. Hu. Brown was engaged in teaching 
a Latin school in Knoxville. Heiskell and Brown under the 
advice and patronage of several of the leading men of Knox- 
ville, determined to establish a press, and, after the nec- 
essary preparation and delay, commenced the publication' 
of The Register in July, 1816. Hu. Brown, the partner and 
brother-in-law of Heiskell, w!as a finished scholar and a 
chaste and elegant writer, modest and retiring in his hab- 
its, and averse to the turmoil and strife incident to political 
life. He was born in Jonesboro, Tennessee, and was the 
son of Joseph Brown of that place, a most exemplary Chris- 
tian gentleman. Birown made the miscellaneous depart- 
ment of The Register a most attractive feature of the paper. 
The political department of the paper indicates nothing out 
of the ordinary routine of newspaper matter from the date 
of its establishment up to the time of Jackson's candidacy 
for the Presidency. With that event, however, commenced 
a struggle which for acrimony, as well as ability on the 
part of the newspapers throughout the country, has never 
been surpassed, if, indeed, it has ever been equalled. The 
bitterness and vituperation indulged in by the friends of 

80 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

General Jackson on the one side, and those of John Quincy 
Adams on the other, is without parallel in American poli- 
tics, and is within the recollection of many now living. My 
own estimate of the bitterness and ability which charac- 
terized these contests is formed no less from what I have 
heard detailed by the active participants in these stirring 
scenes, than from the contents of those old papers. The 
Register with much ability and with ardent zeal, was one 
of the first, if not the first paper in Tennessee, to espouse 
the cause of Old Hickory. The defeat of Jackson in his first 
race added tenfold to the bitterness of his friends, and 
the friends of Adams, catching the contagion, the contest 
was renewed in 1828 with unprecedented ardor and fierce- 
ness. Throughout all of this storm period The Register bore 
a conspicuous and controlling part in supporting the cause 
of the iron-willed statesman and patriot. In the Presiden- 
tial contest of 1836 The Register supported Hugh Lawson 
White. About this time The Register passed into the hands 
of that sterling gentleman and chaste writer, W. B. A. 
Ramsey, and his excellent and upright partner, Robert 
Craighead. Hu Brown had severed his connection with The 
Register in 1829 to accept a professorship in the East Ten- 
nessee University. After he retired from the editorship 
the whole duties both as political and literary editor de- 
volved upon Major Heiskell, and under his individual con- 
trol the paper fully sustained the high character which the 
two editors had jointly made for it. Major Heiskell, after 
the sale of The Register, retired to a farm ten miles be- 
low Knoxville, where he unremittingly engaged in agricul- 
tural pursuits, only leaving his farm once, in 1847, in re- 
sponse to the call of his admiring fellow citizens to serve 
them in the senate of the State. He assumed a bold, inde- 
pendent stand as a candidate, eschewing all the tricks and 
by-paths of the demagogue, was elected and made an able 
and useful member of the senate." 

Major Heiskell's country home, to which he moved after 
retiring from The Register, was named by him Fruit Hill, 
and he there lived until he moved to Knoxville about 1880. 
On leaving Fruit Hill, it appears that a great number of 
letters which he had received from the leading men of the 
State and Nation during his twenty-one years of editing 
The Register, were put in a box which was placed in the 
attic of his residence, a large brick house which is still 
standing. When the author entered upon the writing of this 
chapter he made an unsuccessful search for this box and 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 81 

contents, which, by intention or oversight, had been left 
in the attic when Major Heiskell and his family moved to 
Knoxville, but which are now evidently destroyed. These 
letters would be a perfect mine of historical wealth to a 
writer of to-day who should attempt to demonstrate the 
development of Tennessee, and the character, calibre and 
careers of leading men during its pioneer period and the 
Jacksonian epoch. 

The scrap books referred to by Editor Rule are, several 
of them, still preserved and in the possession of Major 
Heiskell's descendants. With his coming to Knoxville on 
Christmas Day 1814, there have been branches of the fam- 
ily of his name in Knoxville and Knox County, for one hun- 
dred and three years, and in other parts of East Tennes- 
see nearly as long; and this long family residence in Ten- 
nessee, and profound admiration for the Tennessee pioneers 
as commonwealth builders, and of Andrew Jackson as the 
State's greatest historical asset, and one of the greatest 
of the nation, are among the reasons that led the author 
to undertake the writing of this book. 

82 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 



On July 8th, 1797, William Blount, Senator from Ten- 
nessee in the United States Senate, by a vote of twenty-five 
to one, was expelled from that body, and was the first Sen- 
ator ever expelled. That has been one hundred and twenty 
years ago, and this generation of Tennesseans may know 
in a general way that a Tennessee Senator was expelled, 
but few would be able to give any details in reference to it. 
Senator Blount's prominence in the early history of the 
State and justice to his memory as well as to Tennessee, 
whose representative he then was, justifies a later writer 
of Tennessee history to tell more than is generally known 
about his life and family, and the cause and procedure of 
his expulsion from the Senate. 

William Blount, the oldest of the children of Colonel 
Jacob and Barbara Gray Blount, was born in Bertie County, 
North Carolina, on March 26, 1749. Colonel Jacob Blount 
was twice married, and had eight children by his first wife. 
His second marriage was with Hannah Baker Salten, by 
whom he had five children, one of whom was Willie, after- 
wards Governor of Tennessee for three terms, 1809-1815. 
Jacob and his son William participated on the side of the 
patriots in the Battle of the Allamance in North Carolina 
in 1771, which was really the first battle of the American 
Revolution. William's brothers, Thomas and Redding 
Blount, were officers in the military service of* the patriots 
in the Revolutionary War. Thomas was taken prisoner 
and carried to England and there confined for a long time. 
He was afterwards a member of Congress from the Edge- 
comb District up to his death, in 1812. Willie was a Judge 
of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, and afterwards Gov- 
ernor; he was a member of the Constitutional Convention 
of 1834, and his home was at Clarksville, Tennessee, where 
he died. 


Photograph of original miniature from life in the possession of his great -great-grand- 
son John C Febles of Butte, Montana, who had a photograph made for Calvin M. 
McClung of Knoxville, Tennessee, for whom this two diameter enlargement was made by 
Knaffl & Brakebill of Knoxville, in June, 1912. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 83 

Jacob Blount, the father of the thirteen children, was a 
man of means, who educated his children in a manner cor- 
responding to his means and his social position. William 
Blount married on February 12, 1778, Mary, the daughter 
of Caleb Grainger, a member of the General Assembly of 
North Carolina. William was a number of times a member 
of that body, and in the years 1783, 1784, 1786 and 1787 
was a member of the Continental Congress. North Caro- 
lina sent him as its representative to the Convention which 
framed the Federal Constitution in 1781, and he was a 
member of the State Convention of North Carolina which 
ratified the Constitution in 1789 ; he was a supporter of the 
act of 1789 conceding to the United States the territory 
of the present State of Tennessee, and was present as a 
representative of North Carolina at the treaty with the 
Cherokees at Hopewell November 28, 1785, and also at- 
tended at the same place in 1786 the treaties with the 
Choctaws and Chickasaws. 

It will be seen from all of this that the Blount family was 
one of the distinguished and patriotic families in the early 
days of the Federal Union and of Tennessee, and their 
record shows that they were men of large capacity and of 
unfailing confidence and support among the people. 

Dr. Ramsey, the Tennessee historian, has this to say 
about William Blount: 

"He was of an ancient English family of wealth and 
rank which at an early day emigrated to North Carolina ; 
the name is often mentioned in the annals of that State 
during the Revolution. Mr. Blount was remarkable for his 
dress, courtly manners, benignant feelings and a most com- 
manding presence. His urbanity, his personal influence 
over men of all conditions and ages, his hospitality, unos- 
tentatiously yet elegantly and graciously extended to all, 
won the affections and regard of the populace and made 
him a universal favorite. He was at once the social com- 
panion, the well-bred gentleman and the capable officer." 

As stated in another chapter, after he had been ap- 
pointed by George Washington Governor and Indian Com- 
missioner for the new territory, he came into the territory 
and took up his official residence at the house of William 
Cobb, on October 10, 1790, where he proceeded to organize 

84 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

the government of the new territory and to make civil and 
military appointments. In his official capacity he had tre- 
mendous powers and prepared and promulgated his own 
orders and laws, and they were entitled "By William Blount, 
Governor in and over the Territory." Under the ordinance 
of 1787, when the territory had five thousand free male in- 
habitants, the Governor was authorized to order an elec- 
tion for members of a territorial Legislature, and Governor 
Blount had such an election held, and the first territorial 
Legislature met in Knoxville August 25, 1794, and remained 
in session a month and five clays. It was at this session of 
the Legislature that a college was incorporated at Knox- 
ville which was named "Blount College" in honor of the 
Governor, and was the lineal ancestor of the University of 

The increase of population justifying his action, the 
Governor convened the Legislature by proclamation, which 
assembled on June 29th, 1795, to take steps to admit the 
territory as one of the United States, and on the 11th of 
July, 1795, an act was passed for the enumeration of the 
inhabitants which, if they amounted to as much as sixty 
thousand, the Governor was to issue a proclamation for the 
election of delegates to form a State Constitution and to 
meet in convention in the town of Knoxville. The election 
showed more than sixty thousand inhabitants, and the proc- 
lamation for an election w T as duly issued and on the 11th of 
January, 1796, the Constitutional Convention assembled at 
Knoxville. Governor Blount was elected a member of the 
Convention, and after the body assembled was chosen Presi- 
dent. Charles McClung, General James White, Andrew 
Jackson, General James Robertson and Archibald Roane 
were also members. 

John Sevier was elected Governor under the Constitu- 
tion and at a meeting of the Legislature on the 28th of 
March, 1796, William Blount and William Cocke were elected 
United States Senators. Congress, however, declared later 
that the election of March 28 was premature because 
the State had not been admitted into the Union, and 
Blount and Cocke were again elected on the 2d of the fol- 
lowing August. Willie Blount, thirty years of age, was 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 85 

elected by the Legislature a Judge of the Supreme Court. 
William Blount and William Cocke took their seats as Sena- 
tors, and Andrew Jackson as Representative, in the second 
session of the Fourth Congress, which sat from December 
5, 1796, to March 3, 1797. 

On July 3d, 1797, John Adams, President of the United 
States, sent a message to both houses of Congress which 
was the basis of Senator Blount's subsequent expulsion from 
that body, and it is to give Tennesseans a detailed ac- 
count of this expulsion that this chapter is written. The 
President's charge against Senator Blount was a letter 
known as the "Carey letter" written by Senator Blount to 
James Carey at Tellico Block House, now Monroe County, 
Tennessee, and a copy of this letter was sent by the Presi- 
dent with this message ; and in order that the matter may 
be clear, and the full weight of the charges perfectly un- 
derstood, the full text of the letter is here given. Senator 
Blount was not in the Senate Chamber when the message 
and the accompanying letter were read, but he came in af- 
terwards, and the question was put to him whether he wrote 
the letter, and he replied that it was true that he had writ- 
ten a letter to Carey, but was unable to say whether the 
copy produced in the Senate was a correct one or not, and 
he desired time in which to make an investigation. 


"Col. King's Iron Works, April 21, 1797. 
"Dear Carey: 

"I wished to have seen you before I returned to Phila- 
delphia, but I am obliged to return to the session of Con- 
gress which commences on the 15th of May. 

"Among other things that I wished to have seen you 
about was the business Captain Chisholm mentioned to the 
British Minister last winter at Philadelphia. 

"I believe, but am not quite sure, that the plan then 
talked of will be attempted this fall, and if it is attempted, it 
will be in a much larger way than then talked of, and if the 
Indians act their part, I have no doubt but that it will suc- 
ceed. A man of consequence has gone to England about 
the business ; and if he makes arrangements, I shall myself 
have a hand in the business, and shall probably be at the 
head of the business on the part of the British. 

86 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"You are, however, to understand that it is not yet quite 
certain that the plan will be attempted, and to do so will 
require all your management. I say will require all your 
management, because you must take care in whatever you 
say to Rogers or anybody else, not to let the plan be dis- 
covered by Hawkins, Dinsmoor, Byers or any other person 
in the interest of the United States or of Spain. 

"If I attempt this plan, I shall expect to have you and 
all of my Indian friends with me, but you are now in good 
business, I hope, and you are not to risk the loss of it by 
saying anything that will hurt you until you again hear 
from me. Where Captain Chisholrn is I do not know. I 
left home in Philadelphia in March, and he frequently vis- 
ited the Minister and spoke about the subject; but I believe 
he will go into the Creek Nation by way of South Carolina 
or Georgia. He gave out that he was going to England, 
but I do not believe him. Among things that you may safe- 
ly do, will be to keep up, my consequence with Watts and 
the Creeks and Cherokees generally; and you must by no 
means say anything in favor of Hawkins, but as often as 
you can with safety to yourself, you may teach the Creeks 
to believe he is no better than he should be. Any power 
or consequence he gets will be against our plan. Perhaps 
Rogers, wlho has no office to lose, is the best man to give 
out talks against Hawkins. Read the letter to Rogers, and 
if you think best to send it, put a wafer in it and forward 
it to him by a safe hand; or perhaps, you had best send 
for him to come to you, and to speak to him yourself re- 
specting the state and prospect of things. 

"I have advised you in whatever you do to take care of 
yourself. I have now to tell you to take care of me too, for 
a discovery of the plan would prevent the success and much 
injure all parties concerned. It may be that the Commis- 
sioners may not run the line as the Indians expect or wish, 
and in that case it is probable the Indians may be taught 
to blame me for making the treaty. 

"To such complaints against me, if such there be, it 
may be said by my friends, at proper times and places, that 
Doublehead confirmed the treaty with the President at 
Philadelphia, and received as much as five thousand dol- 
lars a year to be paid to the Nation over and above the 
first price; indeed it may with truth be said that though 
I made the treaty, that I made it by the instructions of 
the President, and in fact, it may with truth be said that 
I was by the President instructed to purchase much more 
land than the Indians agreed to sell. This sort of talk will 
be throwing all the blame off me upon the late President, 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 87 

and as he is now out of office, it will be of no consequence 
how much the Indians blame him. And among other things 
that may be said for me, is that I was not at the running 
of the line, and that if I had been, it would have been more 
to their satisfaction. In short, you understand the subject, 
and must take care to give out the proper talks to keep my 
consequence with the Creeks and Cherokees. Can't 
Rogers contrive to get the Creeks to desire the President 
to take Hawkins out of the Nation? for if he stays in the 
Creek Nation, and gets the good will of the Nation, he can 
and will do great injury to our plan. 

"When you have read this letter over three times, then 
burn it. I shall be in Knoxville in July or August, when I 
will send for Watts and give him the whiskey I promised 

"I am, &c, WM. BLOUNT." 

On July 4th, 1797, the Senate passed the following res- 
olution : 

"RESOLVED, That so much of the Message from the 
President of the United States of the third instant, and 
the papers accompanying the same, as relates to a letter pur- 
porting to have been written by William Blount, a Senator 
from Tennessee, be referred to a select Committee, to con- 
sider and report w r hat, in their opinion, it is proper for the 
Senate to do thereon ; and that the said Committee have 
power to send for persons, papers and records relating to 
the subject committed to them, and that Messrs. Ross, 
Stockton, Henry, Sedgwick and Read be the Committee." 

On July 7th, 1797, on motion, the Senate agreed that 
Senator Blount could be represented by two counsel, and 
that he be furnished with all copies of papers that he want- 
ed, and on that same date the Senator notified the Senate 
that Jared Ingersoll and Alexander J. Dallas would rep- 
resent him upon his trial. On July 7th, 1797, the House of 
Representatives sent a message to the Senate by Mr. Sit- 
greaves, one of its members, as follows: 

"Mr. President, I am commanded in the name of the 
House of Representatives, and of all the people of the 
United States, to impeach William Blount, a Senator of 
the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors; and 
to acquaint the Senate that the House of Representatives 
will, in due time, exhibit particular articles against him 
and make good the same. 

88 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"I am further commanded to demand that the said Wil- 
liam Blount be sequestered from his seat in the Senate ; and 
that the Senate do take order for his appearance to answer 
the said impeachment." 

Pursuant to this resolution Senator Blount was re- 
quired to give a bond in the sum of twenty thousand dol- 
lars with two sureties for fifteen thousand dollars each, and 
the condition of the bond was that Blount should appear 
before the Senate of the United States to answer charges 
of impeachment against him to be exhibited by the House 
of Representatives of the United States, and not to depart 
without leave. Thomas Blount, his brother, and Pierce But- 
ler were his bondsmen. 

On July 8th the Senate proceeded to consider the re- 
port of the Committee to which had been referred the mes- 
sag of the President. 

Senator Blount had declined to either affirm or deny that 
he wrote the Carey letter, as he had a right to do, and 
thereby threw the burden on the Senate of proving that 
he wrote it, and that the matter in the letter made him 
guilty of committing a high crime or misdemeanor. The re- 
port of the Committee was as follows : 

"That Mr. Blount having declined an acknowledgement 
or denial of the letter imputed to him, and having failed 
to appear and give any satisfactory explanation respecting 
it, your Committee sent for the original letter, which ac- 
companies this report, and it is in the following words, viz :" 

(Here follows the Carey letter above given.) The re- 
port then proceeds: 

"Two Senators now present in the Senate have declared 
to the Committee that they are well acquainted with the 
handwriting of Mr. Blount, and have no doubt that this 
letter was written by him. Your Committee have examined 
many letters written from Mr. Blount to the Secretary of 
War, a number of which are herewith submitted, as well 
as the letter addressed to Mr. Cocke, his colleague in the 
Senate, and to this Committee, respecting the business un- 
der consideration ; and find them all to be of the same hand- 
writing with the letter in question. Mr. Blount has never 
denied this letter, but, on the other hand, when the copy 
transmitted to the Senate was read in his presence, on the 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 89 

third instance, he acknowledged in his place that he had 
written a letter to Carey, of which he had preserved a copy, 
but could not then decide w T hether the copy read was a 
true one. Your Committee are therefore fully persuaded 
that the original now produced was written and sent to 
Carey by Blount. They also find that this man Carey, to 
whom it was addressed, is, to the knowledge of Mr. Blount, 
in the pay and employment of the United States, as their 
interpreter to the Cherokee Indians, and an assistant in the 
public factory at Tellico Block House. That Hawkins, who 
is so often mentioned in this letter as a person w T ho must be 
brought into suspicion among the Creeks, and if possible 
driven from his station, is the Superintendent of Indian 
Affairs for the United States among the Southern Indians ; 
Dinsmoor is agent for the United States in the Cherokee 
Nation ; and Byers one of the agents in the public factory 
at Tellico Block House. 

"The plan hinted at in this extraordinary letter, to be 
executed under the auspices of the British, is so capable of 
different constructions and conjectures, that your Com- 
mittee at present forbear giving any decided opinion re- 
specting it, except that to Mr. Bilount's own mind, it ap- 
peared to be inconsistent with the interest of the United 
States and of Spain, and he was thereby anxious to con- 
ceal it from both. But, when they consider his attempts to 
seduce Carey from his duty, as a faithful interpreter, and 
to employ him as an engine to alienate the affections and 
confidence of the Indians from the public officers of the 
United States residing among them; the measures he has 
proposed to excite a temper which must produce the recoil 
or expulsion of our Superintendent from the Creek Nation ; 
his insidious advice tending to the advancement of his own 
popularity and consequence, at the expense and hazard of 
the good opinion which the Indians entertain of this Gov- 
ernment, and of the treaties subsisting between us and 
them, your Committee have no doubt that Mr. Blount's con- 
duct has been inconsistent with his public duty, renders 
him unworthy of a further continuance of his present pub- 
lic trust in this body, and amounts to a high misdemeanor. 
They, therefore, unanimously recommend to the Senate, an 
adoption of the following resolution: 

"RESOLVED, That William Blount, Esq., one of the 
Senators of the United States, having been guilty of a high 
misdemeanor, entirely inconsistent with his public trust 
and duty as a Senator, be, and he hereby is, expelled from 
the Senate of the United States." 

90 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

On July 8th, 1797, five days after President Adams had 
sent his message to the Senate, Senator Blount was expelled 
by a vote of twenty-five to one, Senator Tazewell of Vir- 
ginia casting the one vote. 

On July 5th, 1797, Senator Blount wrote from Philadel- 
phia, where Congress was in session, to the people of Ten- 
nessee, this letter: 

"In a few days you will see published by order of Con- 
gress a letter said to have been written by me to James 
Carey. It makes quite a fuss here. The people upon the 
Western waters will see nothing but good in it, for so I 
intended it, especially for Tennessee." 

The modern reader who has carefully read the Carey 
letter and the report of the Committee which recommended 
Senator Blount's expulsion, will be curious to know just 
what the letter means, and will be disposed to agree with 
the extraorinary admission of the Committee that it, the 
Committee, did not know what the letter meant, as is plain- 
ly evidenced by their words: "The plan hinted at in this 
extraordinary letter, to be executed under the auspices of 
the British, is so capable of different constructions and con- 
jectures, that your Committee at present forbear giving 
any decided opinion respecting it, except that to Mr. Blount's 
own mind it appeared to be inconsistent with the interest 
of the United States and of Spain, and he was therefore 
anxious to conceal it from both." 

One cannot help but winder if the Committee could 
not decide what the plan was in the letter, and if the let- 
ter was capable of different constructions and conjectures, 
how the Committee upon the strength of the letter could 
find Senator Blount guilty of anything. The Senator's guilt, 
if guilty at all, depended upon the plan to be carried out 
in the letter, and the Committee could not decide what the 
plan was, and did not pretend to have any evidence as to 
it from any other source. Depending upon the political 
standpoint and prejudices of the reader, the letter might 
mean anything, but Americans have always been taught 
that men cannot be convicted of violation of law upon un- 
certainties, conjectures, surmises or mere belief — there 
must be proof of guilt, and in this case there was no proof. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 91 

The Carey letter was the sole basis of the Senator's 
expulsion, and unexplained as it was, the modern reader 
will conclude without anything from the Senator's side, 
that the expulsion was rushed through the Senate backed 
up by the Adams Administration, for some secret political 
purpose that had not at that time come to light. 

After the resolution had been adopted expelling Sen- 
ator Blount, his sureties were discharged from their bond 
and on July 8th, 1797, he was required to enter into an- 
other bond of one thousand dollars with two sureties of 
five hundred dollars each, to make his appearance on July 
10, 1797, to answer the articles of impeachment preferred 
by the House of Representatives. The drop from a twenty 
thousand dollar to a one thousand dollar bond seems a lit- 
tle curious and no explanation is available. Governor Blount 
forfeited this one thousand dollar bond by not appearing 
on July 10th, and the impeachment proceedings were passed 
until the next session of Congress. On July 8th, 1797, the 
House appointed a Committee to prepare articles of im- 
peachment against Senator Blount and the Committee con- 
sisted of Mr. Sitgreaves, Mr. Baldwin, Mr. Bayard, Mr. 
Dawson, and Mr. Harper. 

The second session of the Fifth Congress met at Phila- 
delphia November 13, 1797, and Joseph Anderson had been 
appointed as Senator from Tennessee to fill out Senator 
Blount's unexpired term. On December 4, 1797, the House 
Committee made its report which contained five articles 
of impeachment against the Senator, with the testimony 
upon which it was based. 

On December 18, 1797, the trial began before the Senate. 


It will be impossible in so limited space to reproduce 
in full the articles of impeachment, but the essential charge 
in each article is as follows: 

Article 1. That Senator Blount entered into a conspir- 
acy within the United States to conduct and carry on from 
the United States a military, hostile expedition against 
Florida and Louisiana, territories of the King of Spain, 

92 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

for the purpose of wresting said territory from the King 
of Spain, and delivering the same to the King of England, 
the King of Spain being at that time at peace with the gov- 
ernment of the United States. 

Article 2. That Senator Blount in February, March, 
April, May and June, 1797, conspired to excite the Creek 
and Cherokee Indians within the territory of the United 
States to commence hostilities against the King of Spain 
in Florida and Louisiana, for the purpose of wresting Flor- 
ida and Louisiana from the King of Spain and delivering 
them to the King of Great Britain. 

Article 3. That Senator Blount conspired to alienate 
and divert the confidence of the Creek and Cherokee In- 
dians in one Benjamin Hawkins, the principal temporary 
agent of the United States for Indian Affairs south of the 
Ohio River, and north of the territorial line of the United 

Article 4. That Senator Blount conspired to engage 
James Carey to whom the letter had been written, and who 
had been appointed an interpreter of the United States 
to the Cherokee Indians and to assist at the public trading 
house established at Tellico Block House in the State of 
Tennessee, to assist Senator Bilount in the execution of his 
alleged criminal conspiracies against the United States. 

Article 5. That Senator Blount conspired to dimin- 
ish and impair the confidence of the Cherokee Indians in 
the Government of the United States and to foment dis- 
content among said Indians towards said Government in 
relation to the ascertainment and marking of certain boun- 
dary lines between the United States and the said Cherokee 
Indians, he thereby intending the more effectually to ac- 
complish his purpose of exciting said Indians to commence 
hostilities against the King of Spain. 

The House reserving to itself the right at any time af- 
terwards of submitting any further articles of impeach- 
ment against the Senator, demanded that he be put to an- 
swer for his alleged crimes and misdemeanors. The Sen- 
ate agreed to the five articles of impeachment, and it was 
upon them that the trial was had. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 93 

On December 24, 1797, Jared Ingersoll of counsel for 
Senator Blount, submitted a plea which is too long to be 
reproduced here, but the substance of which was that the 
Senate having expelled Senator Blount, and he being no 
longer a member of that body, had no jurisdiction over 
him for any act he might be charged With, it being a plea 
to the jurisdiction of the Senate, and prayed judgment of 
the Senate as a high Court of Impeachment whether Sen- 
ator Blount should be required to further answer the five 
articles of impeachment preferred against him. 

To this plea Mr. Bayard, Chairman of the Managers 
on the part of the House, on January 3, 1799, made a repli- 
cation which was in substance and effect a demurrer to 
the plea, and set out that the matters alleged in the plea 
were not sufficient to exempt Senator Blount from answer- 
ing the articles of impeachment. 

To this replication Messrs. Ingersoll and Dallas filed 
a rejoinder setting out that the matter alleged in the plea 
was sufficient reason why the Senate as a Court of Im- 
peachment ought not to hold jurisdiction of the impeach- 
ment articles, and that the matter in said plea of Senator 
Bilount not being denied or answ r er made thereto by the 
House of Representatives, judgment was prayed whether 
or not the High Court of Impeachment would hold any fur- 
ther jurisdiction of the impeachment, or take cognizance 
thereof, and w r hether Senator Blount should make fur- 
ther answer thereto. 

These pleadings raised a question of law, pure and sim- 
ple, that went to the jurisdiction of the Senate over the 
subject matter, and the merits of the case were not in- 
volved. The sole question was whether Senator Blount, hav- 
ing been expelled from the Senate of its own motion, could 
now be impeached by the House of Representatives, and 
the impeachment sustained by the Senate, of which body 
he was no longer a member. 

On January 11, 1797, the Senate sustained the motion 
by a vote of 14 to 11 that the plea of Senator Blount was 
sufficient in law, and that the Senate as a High Court of 
Impeachment ought not to hold jurisdiction of the impeach- 
ment and the same was dismissed. The Secretary of the 

94 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Senate was directed to notify the House of Representatives 
that the Senate would be ready to receive the Managers of 
the House and their counsel on Monday, January 14, 1797, at 
twelve o'clock to render judgment on the impeachment 
against Senator Blount. On January 14th the Court was 
opened and the parties were in attendance ; the Vice Presi- 
dent of the United States being the President of the Senate, 
pronounced the judgment of the Court that it would not hold 
jurisdiction of the impeachment and that it be dismissed. 

Mr. Sitgreaves, Chairman of the House Committee to 
prepare the articles of impeachment, stated clearly that 
the articles were based solely upon the Carey letter, so that 
the guilt or innocence of Senator Blount is confined to that 
letter, and taking that letter as the sole basis of the Sen- 
ator's guilt, we ask the question : 

First, did the letter justify the House Committee in bas- 
ing its five articles of impeachment upon it? 

This question raises the strictly legal aspect of Sena- 
tor Blount's guilt, as shown by the Carey letter, if he was 
guilty. The reply to the question in the calm consideration 
that our day gives to the matter is that the letter does not 
justify the five articles of impeachment. It is to be borne 
in mind that all of the five articles charge conspiracy, but 
it is not charged in any one of them that Senator Blount 
ever did anything to carry his conspiracies into execution. 
It is not charged in any of the articles with whom Senator 
Blount conspired. No man can make a conspiracy himself 
alone. This omission is very suggestive, because any person 
so charged would have defended himself, and if such a per- 
son had been an officer or representative of the English 
government, the Adams administration might have brought 
on trouble with that government as serious as it pretended 
to think Senator Blount's so-called conspiracy was about to 
bring on with Spain. 

In law, to make a conspiracy a criminal offense, there 
must be a clear and definite agreement to do some definite- 
ly understood unlawful thing. Men may consult about an 
unlawful thing any number of times, and if there is no 
agreement to do the unlawful thing, there is no violation 
of law. In the Carey letter there is not even a pretense 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 95 

of any definite plan or undertaking being agreed upon or 
adopted; there is not a pretense that any definitely under- 
stood arrangement was to be carried out. There is not a 
pretense that the minds of whoever the conspirators were 
agreed upon the unlawful thing to be done. If there was 
a conspiracy at all, there must have been in it others be- 
sides Governor Blount who must have acceded to some def- 
inite plan. 

Upon the contrary, there are numerous statements in 
the Carey letter that indicate that nothing had been agreed 
upon. Here are some illustrations : The Senator said in one 
place, "I believe, but am not quite sure, that the plan then 
talked of will be attempted this fall ;" in another place, "You 
are, however, to understand that it is not yet quite cer- 
tain that the plan will be attempted ;" in another place, "If 
I attempt this plan." Again, the letter show r s that nothing 
was to be done unless satisfactory arrangements were made 
with England, and there is not a scintilla of evidence that 
Erigland ever agreed to any arrangement. 

Again, there is no evidence whatever that Senator 
Blount incited the Indians to make war on the King of 

There is no evidence whatever that Senator Blount ever 
attempted to put Hawkins out of office. 

There is no evidence whatever that Senator Blount at- 
tempted to divert James Carey from his duty as a servant 
of the United States. 

There is no evidence whatever that Senator Blount at- 
tempted to persuade the Indians that the United States 
had swindled them, and even if there was, this is not a 
crime. It is common knowledge throughout American his- 
tory that the Indians have been overreached and swindled 
by the agents of the United States government, probably 
not with the knowledge 'and consent of that government, 
but by the dishonesty of agents who worked to the detri- 
ment of the Government's wards. 

Speaking generally, the defect in the five articles is 
that the House Committee who drew them assumed that 
the Senator had been guilty of a conspiracy, and then made 
charges that were not in themselves criminal, but which 

96 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

could only be pronounced such by reference to a conspiracy 
previously assumed to exist. In other words, the Commit- 
tee pronounced Senator Blount guilty by presumption, and 
then notified him to clear himself the best way he could. 
This may be a not very unusual procedure in politics in 
order to gain a political advantage, but it is not the law 
of the land and never was. There is not a court in the 
United States that would permit the allegations in the five 
charges to stand as an adequate foundation for a charge 
of conspiracy. We are forced to conclude, therefore, that 
as a matter of law the five charges preferred by the House 
absolutely broke down, and it follows that if the Senator 
was not guilty in law, he could not be guilty at all. His ex- 
pulsion, therefore, can be charged up as a political out- 
rage committed by the Adams Administration, members of 
the Cabinet of w/hich actively aided in the prosecution, and 
brought all the influence of the administration to bear to 
expel Senator Blount from the Senate. President Adams had 
made the charge, and had sent the Carey letter to the Sen- 
ate; this was an act of his administration which he did not 
desire should fail, and the administration backed up the 
prosecution with all of its might. 

But, as Senator Blount was a representative of this 
State, Tennessee would like to know not only that he was 
not guilty in law, but that he was not morally guilty of 
anything in the Carey letter, and this brings up the question 
of what the Carey letter meant, if it had any definite or 
fixed meaning at all. 

In 1835 Willie Blount, a half brother of the Senator, 
wrote a vindication of him, which is referred to by Dr. 
Ramsey in his Annals of Tennessee, but unfortunately that 
vindication, together with numerous other Blount papers, 
historical and biographical documents, correspondence and 
historical library, which Dr. Ramsey had collected for the 
purpose of writing a second volume of his Annals of Ten- 
nessee, were all destroyed by fire, and the volume was never 
written. In reference to this vindication, Dr. Ramsey said : 

"Governor Willie Blount, the writer of it, was a young- 
er brother of Senator Blount, was his private and official 
Secretary, and was thus associated intimately with him in 


Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 97 

most of the transactions of his public and private life, and 
who succeeded him in the administration of the duties of 
Governor over the same people for many years. His char- 
acter for candor and truth and impartiality will be no- 
where questioned, and the condition of no one could have 
been more favorable for the ascertainment of all the facts 
he mentions or the purposes to which he alludes in his vin- 
dication of William Blount. At the time I read it the docu- 
ment was closely examined, even analyzed in all of its bear- 
ings, its arguments, and its conditions. It was supported 
by the most irrefragible testimony. I have had some op- 
portunity in my past life of sifting and comparing contem- 
porary testimony from which to eliminate historical truth, 
and I here declare the vindication by Governor Willie Blount 
of Senator Blount to have been full and particular, not only 
explanatory and exculpatory in every particular, but per- 
fectly satisfactory to myself at the time it was before me." 

Within the limits here necessary it would be impossi- 
ble to go into a full and detailed statement of the politics of 
that day involving the relations of the United States, 
France, Spain, England and the Indian tribes. All of the 
diplomacy of the day was absolutely rotten upon the part 
of the three latter nations. Spain was in possession of 
Florida and Louisiana and was prohibiting free navigation 
of the Mississippi River. The free navigation of that river 
was the very life-blood of the people of Tennessee. They 
then constituted the extreme West of the United States, 
and were without roads or railroads, and water transpor- 
tation was their only means of travel. The land of Tennes- 
see was practically worthless at the time the Carey letter 
was written. Spain was holding her control of the Missis- 
sippi River as a club over the head not only of the United 
States, but of every nation that controlled territory adjoin- 
ing the Mississippi, and Spain's demands and domination 
of the River had become intolerable. That Senator Blount 
should desire that the people of Tennessee might have the 
great dream of their lives — that is, the right to use the 
Mississippi as an unrestricted highway — only proves that 
the Senator was absolutely loyal to the interests of the 
State that he represented. Tennessee, with its sparse pop- 
ulation and its total lack of development and the painful 
poverty of its people at the time the Carey letter was writ- 

98 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

ten, had very little influence in the Congress of the United 
States. Tennessee was a kind of step-daughter in the newly 
formed American Union. It is not difficult to surmise that 
Senator Blount saw that there was no relief to be expected 
from Congress for the people of Tennessee in reference to 
the navigation of the Mississippi. If he saw this, and un- 
dertook to get relief for his State, instead of being a crim- 
inal and an outlaw, he would be a patriot, and with this ex- 
planation the letter written by the Senator to the people 
of Tennessee on July 5, 1797, becomes clear in which he 
used the language: "The people upon the Western waters 
will see nothing but good in it (the Carey letter) for so I 
intended it, especially for Tennessee;" and this is the sum 
of the whole matter; and this is why, when he returned 
to Tennessee after being expelled from the Senate, he was 
received not as a disgraced and outlawed public official, but 
with open arms by his fellow citizens. 

It was through Senator Blount that the first constitu- 
tional convention of Tennessee adopted the 29th Section of 
the Bill of Rights as follows: "That an equal participation 
in the free navigation of the Mississippi River is one of the 
inherent rights of the citizens of this State; it cannot, 
therefore, be conceded to any prince, potentate, power, per- 
son or persons whatever." 

He was expelled from the Senate July 8, 1797, and Gen- 
eral James White in two or three months resigned from the 
Tennessee State Senate of which he was Speaker, in order 
that Senator Blount might take his place, and the Senator 
was elected to the State Senate, and made Speaker on De- 
cember 3, 1797. In five months the people of Tennessee 
showed their resentment at the Senator's expulsion from 
Congress in the most emphatic manner in their power, 
namely, by making him the Speaker of their highest legis- 
lative body. 

If we should put the case in its strongest possible light 
against Senator Blount, and assume that he did enter into 
an agreement with England by w r hich England was to get 
the control of Louisiana, and thereby dominate the Mis- 
sissippi River, and thereby give to the American people 
free and unrestricted navigation of that river, we hardly 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 99 

think that any American citizen would very seriously con- 
demn him ; but, as a matter of fact, no agreement was ever 
made. That something of the kind was discussed by Sen- 
ator Blount and his friends, we assume to be beyond ques- 
tion. There is not a particle of evidence that the Senator 
ever contemplated leading a military force out of the United 
States, and thereby making possible a war between Spain 
and the United States, and there is not a particle of evi- 
dence that anything he ever said or did as referred to in 
the Carey letter, would have brought war or disagreement 
between the United States and Spain. The modern reader 
can but see in his expulsion cold-blooded national politics 
with the wires being pulled by parties evidently in the back- 
ground for undisclosed purposes, and not because of any 
violation of law indicated by the Carey letter. 


Honorable Marcus J. Wright, now eighty years of age, 
was a Brigadier General from Tennessee in the Confeder- 
ate Army, and was appointed by President U. S. Grant 
as the Confederate member of a Commission of three to 
take charge of the printing for the Government of the rec- 
ords of the Civil War; and ever since his appointment he 
has been in the War Records Department of the United 
States at Washington. In 1884 he wrote a short Life of 
Senator Blount — a pamphlet of one hundred and forty- 
two pages — and in it he gave an account of the charges be- 
fore the Senate against the Senator, a summary of the tes- 
timony of the witnesses, the trial and the expulsion, and 
some account of his life and history generally. To General 
Wright's book and to Dr. J. G. M. Ramsey is due much of 
what we know about Senator Blount, and as General Wright 
is a Tennessean and wrote his Life of Blount as a vindi- 
cation, a quotation of his own words will be of interest 
to the large number of Tennesseans who know him per- 
sonally. In Chapter thirty we find the following: 

"Under the old Confederation the people of Tennessee 
had been unaided and unprotected in all of their Indian 
wars. They had received neither troops nor money. They 
were isolated and cut off from trade with the East by 

1 00 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

mountain ranges, and cut off from New Orleans by Span- 
ish prohibition ; the United States was either unable or un- 
willing to secure for them the free navigation of the Miss- 
issippi River, and in general was little disposed to take 
notice of their grievances. They entertained no strong af- 
fection for the old Confederation, and when the new Fed- 
eral Constitution was submitted to them the first time they 
rejected it by an almost unanimous vote. Afterwards they 
did accept it in the hope that the general government would 
extend them relief. The hope was vain. Monette says : 

" 'The prevalence of Eastern influence in Congress and 
in the Cabinet of the United States was strong and swayed 
the national policy as to measures affecting the Eastern 
people, and these measures operated no less perniciously 
upon them than if they had been prompted by interested 
jealousy in the Atlantic States.' 

"Putnam says: 'The politicians in the Eastern States 
said let us secure the fisheries ; what matters it if the navi- 
gation of the Mississippi is yielded for five and twenty years, 
or forever?' 

"* * * If no redress could be had during Washing- 
ton's administration, still less could any be hoped for under 
the succeeding administration, which was alike character- 
ized by its tame submission to foreign insults as by the 
ferocity of its Alien and Sedition Laws. There was no hope 
from the government; the people of the West must help 
themselves or be irretrievably ruined as they were justified 
at the time in supposing; Governor Blount planned an en- 
terprise for their relief; we have seen what the plan was. 
It was to secure them the free navigation of the Mississ- 
ippi; a right which had been declared in the twenty-ninth 
section of the Bill of Rights of Tennessee to be 'one of the 
inherent rights of the citizens of this State.' This provi- 
sion was inserted at the instance and by the efforts of Gov- 
ernor Blount in 1796, two years before he was impeached 
for making an arrangement for carrying it into effect. The 
people of Tennessee looked to Governor Blount for relief; 
he had been identified with the early history and govern- 
ment of the State, and felt it to be his duty to attempt to 
secure relief. He made the effort and failed. For making 
this effort he was expelled from the Senate of the United 
States and impeached. But those who sought to disgrace 
him were disappointed. What was intended for his humil- 
iation redounded to his greater honor. If he had been a 
popular favorite before, he was now regarded as a victim 
of Eastern selfishness and as a martyr to the cause of the 
Western people." 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 101 

A rather amusing 1 incident of the impeachment oc- 
curred when Senator Blount forfeited his bond of one thou- 
sand dollars and did not appear for trial before the Sen- 
ate. Dr. Ramsey says that the Sergeant at Arms, James 
Mathers, was sent by the Senate to Knoxville to take the 
Senator into custody and bring him before that body. Math- 
ers proceeded to Knoxville and served the Senate's process 
upon Blount, who of course, refused to go. The Sergeant 
at Arms was entertained as a guest at the Senator's house 
and courteously received by the State authorities. After 
staying about Knoxville for a few days he summoned a 
posse of citizens to assist him to take the Senator back to 
Philadelphia — but not a man would serve. Sergeant at 
Arms Mathers was then not long in coming to the conclu- 
sion that he had better start for home, and a number of 
citizens rode with him a few miles out of town, bade him 
goodbye with the greatest courtesy, and assured him with 
all possible politeness that William Blount could not be 
taken as a prisoner out of Tennessee. 

His expulsion not only did not injure him with Ten- 
nesseans, but it made him more popular than ever, for the 
people looked upon it, just as the fact was, that he was ex- 
pelled when he was trying to do something in the service 
of his State. 

Later, Willie Blount was elected three times Governor 
of Tennessee, and William G. Blount, the Senator's son, was 
elected Secretary of State by the Tennessee Legislature, 
and later, upon the death of John Sevier, was elected a 
member of Congress from the Knoxville District. 

Pleasant M. Miller, the Senator's son-in-law, served as 
a member of Congress; and another son-in-law, Edmund 
P. Gaines, was a General in the United States army. 

Senator Blount died on the first of March, 1800. His 
wife died on October 7, 1802, and they are buried side by 
side in the First Presbyterian Churchyard in Knoxville. 

Six children survived the couple. 

102 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 



In early Tennessee history some of the actors stand out 
so clearly that the mind's eye can see them with the ac- 
curacy of a photograph; others are more indistinct, while 
at the same time performing great service for the cause 
of the civilization which was being planted in the State. 
Among those who are indistinct and almost shadowy, ex- 
cept in his journey by water to Nashville, is Colonel John 
Donelson. Leaving his water trip out of consideration, 
Colonel Donelson appears in the merest outlines, yet he was 
a great man and his record will stand the most critical ex- 
amination; the closer we look at it the larger it develops. 
More than that, Colonel Donelson founded the Donelson 
family of Tennessee, which with its connections in several 
States, became and is now one of the most influential fam- 
ilies in the South. But if he had lived the life of a drone, 
except in making his water journey to Nashville, he would 
be one of the heroes of history, and his name would be 
passed down the years along with others who are conceded 
to have done great things. 

Colonel John Donelson was born in Pittsylvania County, 
Virginia, in 1720, and his father's name was also John Don- 
elson, who immigrated to America in 1716, and settled in 
Delaware Bay, at a date that we have been unable to find. 
Both his father and grandfather appear to have been en- 
gaged in the shipping business. Colonel Donelson was an 
educated man, probably one of the best educated of his day, 
and achieved prominence in Virginia before he concluded 
to make his home West of the mountains. He was a sur- 
veyor by profession, and was associated at one time and 
another with the leading men on the American side in the 
Revolutionary War. In Virginia, he personally knew George 
Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, all of whom 
were his personal friends. In Tennessee, he was associated 
with John Sevier, James Robertson, Isaac Shelby, the two 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 103 

Bledsoes, Col. Richard Henderson, and other leaders of the 
trans-montane movement. He served in the House of Bur- 
gesses of Virginia, prior to the Declaration of Independ- 
ence, in 1771-72-73-74 and in 1771 he was appointed Colonel 
of the Pittsylvania County militia. He was appointed sur- 
veyor of Pittsylvania County by the Colonial Government. 
He married Rachel Stockley of Maryland. 

On June 26th, 1777, a meeting was held at Fort Patrick 
Henry, near Long Island, in the present Sullivan County, 
by the Commissioners appointed by Governor -Henry, of 
Virginia, and a number of Cherokee Chiefs, to establish 
the line between the State of Virginia and Cherokee ter- 
ritory. Commissioners of North Carolina also were pres- 
ent, who were Waightstill Avery, William Sharp, Robert 
Lanier and Joseph Winston ; and the result of the meeting 
was the confirmation of the line run by Colonel Donelson 
some time before. 

Colonel Donelson's father married Katherine Davis, a 
sister of the first President of Princeton College. The 
Colonel had eleven children, some of whom were destined 
to high positions. The children were as follows : 

Alexander, who never married ; Elizabeth, who mar- 
ried Colonel Thomas Hutchins ; Captain John Donelson, who 
married Mary Purnel, of Snow Hill, Virginia, and who as 
bride and groom, endured the hardships and deprivations 
incident to Colonel Donelson's voyage to Tennessee, in his 
"good boat Adventure;" Mary, who married Captain John 
Caffrey, and whose descendants are prominent in Louisiana 
and Mississippi; Jane, who married Colonel Robert Hayes, 
and they were the parents of Mrs. Robert I. Chester, of 
Jackson, Tennessee; William, who married Charity Dick- 
inson, and had a number of children ; Stockley, who mar- 
ried Elizabeth Glascow; Samuel, who married Mary Smith, 
and they became the parents of Major Andrew J. Donelson 
and General Daniel S. Donelson ; Severn, who married Eliz- 
abeth Rucker, and they became the parents of Andrew, the 
adopted son of General Jackson ; Levin, who never mar- 
ried ; Rachel, who married first Captain Lewis Robards and 
then General Jackson. 

104 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

All of Colonel Donelson's children were born in Vir- 
ginia, and he brought them all to the Watauga region when 
he came to Tennessee. Just how long he remained in Ten- 
nessee before he conceived the idea of his marvelous jour- 
ney by water from Fort Patrick Henry to Nashville, we have 
been unable to ascertain, but we know from the journal 
he kept that he started on the journey December 22nd, 1779. 
This journey involved the distance from Fort Patrick Henry 
to Knoxville, which is 142 miles; thence by the Tennessee 
River to the Ohio 635 miles ; thence by the Ohio to the mouth 
of the Cumberland 15 miles ; and thence by the Cumberland 
to Nashville 193 miles, or, a total of 985 miles. 

Considering the craft in which this water journey was 
taken, the ever present danger from Indians on both sides 
of all the rivers traversed, the danger from navigation, the 
escape from which seems miraculous, the drastic labor of 
poleing boats up stream on the Ohio for 15 miles and up 
the Cumberland for 193 miles, and the suffering from the 
extreme cold of the weather, which was one of the severest 
seasons ever known in Tennessee, this journey becomes one 
of the marvels of history. 

One of the most precious documents in all the records 
of Tennessee, is Colonel Donelson's journal of that voyage, 
which happily has been preserved and is in the Tennessee 
Historical' Society at Nashville, and is here printed in full. 
The reader will observe the total lack of color in the narra- 
tive, which argues that Colonel Donelson did not look upon 
his undertaking as anything very remarkable, but there 
are a thousand things that come to mind we would like to 
know. Talk about romance, where is there a historical in- 
cident more filled with romance than this, and how we would 
like someone to have been on that journey who could have 
filled in the color in Colonel Donelson's narrative. We are 
curious to know all about the "Good Boat Adventure," how 
long and wide it was and the details of construction ; how 
the voyagers spent their time as the current was bearing 
them forward to an unknowable destiny in the wilds of 
Middle Tennessee on the Cumberland River; what Captain 
John Donelson and bride, Mary Purnel, thought and said 
of that journey as a wedding trip; and all of the thousand 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 105 

and one incidents connected with a life of four months un- 
der the unprecedented conditions of that voyage. They ar- 
rived at the end of their journey on Monday, April 24th, 
1780. Here is the way Colonel Donelson tells the story : 

1779 — Voyage of the Donelson Party. 

journal of a voyage, intended by god's permission, in 

the good boat adventure, from fort patrick henry, 

on holston river, to the french salt springs 

on cumberland river, kept by john 


"December 22, 1779. — Took our departure from the fort, 
and fell down the river to the mouth of Reedy creek, where 
we were stopped by the fall of water and most excessive 
hard frost; and after much delay, and many difficulties, 
we arrived at the mouth of Cloud's Creek on Sunday even- 
ing, the 20th of February, 1780, where we lay by until Sun- 
day, the 27th, when we took our departure with sundry 
other vessels bound for the same voyage, and on the same 
day struck the Poor-valley shoal, together with Mr. Boyd 
and Mr. Rounsifer, on which shoal we lay that afternoon 
and succeeding night in much distress. 

"Monday, February 28th, 1780. — In the morning, the 
water rising, we got off the shoal, after landing thirty per- 
sons to lighten our boat. In attempting to land on an island, 
received some damage, and lost sundry articles, and came 
to camp on the south shore, where we joined sundry other 
vessels also bound down. 

"Tuesday, 29th — Proceeded down the river and en- 
camped on the north shore, the afternoon and following day 
proving rainy. 

"Wednesday, March 1st. — Proceeded on, and encamped 
on the north shore, nothing happening that day remarkable. 

"March 2d. — Rain about half the day ; passed the mouth 
of French Broad river, and about twelve o'clock Mr. Henry's 
boat, being driven on the point of an island by the force 
of the current, was sunk, the whole cargo much damaged, 
and the crew's lives much endangered, which occasioned 
the whole fleet to put on shore and go to their assistance, 
but with much difficulty baled her out and raised her, in 
order to take in her cargo again. The same afternoon, Reu- 
ben Harrison went out a hunting, and did not return that 
night, though many guns were fired to fetch him in. 

"Friday, 3rd. — Early in the morning fired a four-pound- 
er for the lost man, sent out sundry persons to search the 
woods for him, firing many guns that day and the succeed- 

106 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

ing night, but all without success, to the great grief of his 
parents and fellow-travelers. 

"Saturday, 4th. — Proceeded on our voyage, leaving old 
Mr. Harrison, with some other vessels, to make further 
search for his lost son: about ten o'clock the same day 
found him a considerable distance down the river, where 
Mr. Ben Belew took him on board his boat. At three 
o'clock p. m., passed the mouth of Tennessee river, and 
camped on the south shore, about ten miles below the mouth 
of Tennessee. 

"Sunday, 5th. — Cast off and got under way before sun- 
rise; twelve o'clock, passed mouth of Clinch ; at three o'clock, 
p. m., came up with the Clinch River company, whom we 
joined, and camped, the evening proving rainy. 

"Monday 6th. — Got under way before sunrise : the morn- 
ing proving very foggy, many of the fleet were much 
bogged : about ten o'clock lay up for them ; when collected, 
proceeded down ; camped on the north shore, where Cap- 
tain Hutchin's negro man died, being much frosted in his 
feet and legs, of which he died. 

"Tuesday, 7th. — Got under way very early: the day 
proving very windy, a S.S.W., and the river, being wide, 
occasioned a high sea, insomuch that some of the smaller 
crafts were in danger, therefore came to at the uppermost 
Chickamauga towfr, which was then evacuated, where we 
lay by that afternoon and camped that night. The wife of 
Ephraim Peyton was here delivered of a child. Mr. Peyton 
has gone through by land with Captain Robertson. 

"Wednesday, 8th. — Cast off at ten o'clock, and proceed- 
ed down to an Indian village, which was inhabited, on the 
south side of the river: they invited us to 'come ashore,' 
called us brothers, and showed other signs of friendship, 
insomuch that Mr. John Caffrey and my son, then on board, 
took a canoe which I had in tow, and were crossing over 
to them, the rest of the fleet having landed on the opposite 
shore. After they had gone some distance, a half-breed, 
who called himself Archy Coody, with several other In- 
dians, jumped into a canoe, met them, and advised them 
to return to the boat, which they did, together with Coody, 
and several canoes, which left the shore and followed direct- 
ly after him. They appeared to be friendly. After distrib- 
uting some presents among them, with which they seemed 
much pleased, we observed a number of Indians on the other 
side embarking in their canoes, armed and painted with red 
and black. Coody immediately made signs to his compan- 
ions, ordering them to quit the boat, which they did, him- 
self and another Indian remaining with us, and telling us 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 107 

to move off instantly. We had not gone far before we dis- 
covered a number of Indians armed and painted, proceed- 
ing- down the river, as it were to intercept us. Coody, the 
half-breed, and his companion sailed with us for some time, 
and telling us that we had passed all the towns and were 
out of danger, left us. But we had not gone far until we 
come in sight of another town, situated likewise on the 
south side of the river, nearly opposite a small island. Here 
they again invited us to come on shore, called us brothers, 
and observing the boats standing off for the opposite chan- 
nels, told us that 'their side of the river was better for boats 
to pass.' And here we must regret the unfortunate death 
of young Mr. Payne, on board Captain Blackmore's boat, 
who was mortally wounded by reason of the boat running 
too near the northern shore, opposite the town where some 
of the enemy lay concealed ; and the more tragical misfor- 
tune of poor Stuart, his family and friends, to the number of 
twenty-eight persons. This man had embarked with us for 
the Western country, but his family being diseased with the 
small-pox, it was agreed upon between him and the company 
that he should keep at some distance in the rear, for fear 
of the infection spreading ; and he was warned each night 
when the encampment should take place by the sound of a 
horn. After we had passed the town, the Indians having 
now collected to a considerable number, observing his help- 
less situation, singled off from the rest of the fleet, inter- 
cepted him, killed and took prisoners the whole crew, to the 
great grief of the whole company, uncertain how soon they 
might share the same fate : their cries were distinctly heard 
by those boats in the rear. We still perceived them march- 
ing down the river in considerable bodies, keeping pace 
with us unt'l the Cumberland Mountain withdrew them 
from our sight, when we were in hopes we had escaped them. 
We are now arrived at the place called Whirl, or Suck, where 
the river is compressed within less than half its common 
width above, by the Cumberland Mountain, which juts in on 
both sides. In passing through the upper part of these 
narrows, at a place described by Coody, which he termed the 
"boiling pot" a trivial accident had nearly ruined the ex- 
pedition. One of the company, John Cotton, who was 
moving down in a large canoe, had attached it to Robert 
Cartwright's boat, into which he and his family had gone 
for safety. The canoe was here overturned, and the little 
cargo lost. The company, pitying his distress, concluded 
to halt and assist him in recovering his property. They 
had landed on the northern shore, at a level spot, and were 
going up to the place, when the Indians to our astonishment 

108 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

appeared immediately over us on the opposite cliffs, and 
commenced firing down upon us, which occasioned a precip- 
itate retreat to the boats. We immediately moved off. The 
Indians, lining the bluffs along, continued their fire from 
the heights on our boats below, without doing any other 
injury than wounding four slightly. Jenning's boat is miss- 

"We have now passed through the Whirl. The river 
widens with a placid and gentle current, and all the com- 
pany appear to be in safety, except the family of Jonathan 
Jennings, whose boat ran on a large rock projecting out 
from the northern shore, and partly immersed in water, im- 
mediately at the Whirl, where we were compelled to leave 
them, perhaps to be slaughtered by their merciless enemies. 
Continued to sail on that day, and floated throughout the 
following night. 

"Thursday, 9th. — Proceeded on our journey, nothing 
happening worthy of attention today; floated until about 
midnight, and encamped on the northern shore. 

"Friday, 10th. — This morning about four o'clock we were 
surprised by the cries of 'Help poor Jennings' at some dis- 
tance in the rear. He had discovered us by our fires, and 
came up in the most wretched condition. He states, that as 
soon as the Indians had discovered his situation, they turned 
their whole attention to him, and kept up a most galling fire 
on his boat. He ordered his wife, a son nearly grown, a 
young man who accompanied them, and his two negroes, to 
throw all his goods into the river, to lighten their boat for 
the purpose of getting her off; himself returning their fire 
as well as he could, being a good soldier and an excellent 
marksman. But before they had accomplished their object, 
his son, the young man, and the negro man jumped out of 
the boat and left them: he thinks the young man and the 
negro were wounded. Before they left the boat, Mrs. Jen- 
nings, however, and the negro woman succeeded in unload- 
ing the boat, but chiefly by the exertions of Mrs. Jennings, 
who got out of the boat and shoved her off; but was near 
falling a victim to her own intrepidity, on account of the 
boat starting so suddenly as soon as loosened from the rocks. 
Upon examination he appears to have made a wonderful 
escape, for his boat is pierced in numberless places with 
bullets. It is to be remarked that Mrs. Peyton, who was the 
night before delivered of an infant, which was unfor- 
tunately killed in the hurry and confusion consequent upon 
such a disaster, assisted them, being frequently exposed to 
wet and cold then and afterwards, and that her health ap- 
pears to be good at this time, and I think and hope she will 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 109 

do well. Their clothes were very much cut with bullets, 
especially Mrs. Jennings ! 

"Saturday, 11th. — Got under way after having distrib- 
uted the family of Mrs. Jennings in the other boats. Rowed 
on quietly that day and encamped for the night on the north- 
ern shore. 

"Sunday, 12th. — Set out, and after a few hours' sailing 
we heard the crowing of cocks, and soon came within view 
of the town : here they fired on us again without doing any 
injury. After running until about ten o'clock came in sight 
of the Muscle Shoals. Halted on the northern shore at the 
upper end of the shoals, in order to search for the signs 
Captain James Robertson was to make for us at that place. 
He set out from Holston early in the fall of 1779, and was to 
proceed by the way of Kentucky to the Big Salt Lick on Cum- 
berland river, with several others in company, was to come 
across from the Big Salt Lick to the upper end of the shoals, 
there to make such signs that we might know he had been 
there, and that it was practicable for us to go across by land. 
But to our great mortification we can find none, from which 
we conclude that it would not be prudent to make the at- 
tempt ; and are determined, knowing ourselves to be in such 
imminent danger, to pursue our journey down the river. 
After trimming our boats in the best manner possible, we 
ran through the shoals before night. When we approached 
them they had a dreadful appearance to those who had never 
seen them before. The water being high made a terrible 
roaring, which could be heard at some distance among the 
drift-wood heaped frightfully upon the points of the island, 
the current running in every possible direction. Here we 
did not know how soon we should be dashed to pieces, and 
all our troubles ended at once. Our boats frequently 
dragged on the bottom, and appeared constantly in danger 
of striking : they warped as much as in a rough sea. But, 
by the hand of Providence, we are now preserved from this 
danger also. I know not the length of this wonderful shoal : 
it had been represented to me to be twenty-five or thirty 
miles ; if so, we must have descended very rapidly, as indeed 
we did, for we passed it in about three hours. Came to 
and camped on the northern shore, not far below the shoals, 
for the night. 

"Monday, 13th. — Got under way early in the morning, 
and made a good run that day. 

"Tuesday, 14th. — Set out early. On this day two boats 
approaching too near the shore, were fired on by the In- 
dians ; five of the crew were wounded, but not dangerously. 
Came to camp at night near the mouth of a creek. After 

110 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

kindling fires and preparing- for rest, the company were 
alarmed on account of the incessant barking our dogs kept 
up; taking it for granted the Indians were attempting to 
surprise us, we retreated precipitately to the boats, fell 
down the river about a mile, and encamped on the other 
shore. In the morning, I prevailed on Mr. Caffrey and my 
son to cross below in a canoe and return to the place ; which 
they did, and found' an African negro we had left in the 
hurry, asleep by one of the fires. The voyagers then re- 
turned and collected their utensils, which had been left. 

"Wednesday, 15th. — Got under way, and moved on 
peaceably on the five following days, when we arrived at the 
mouth of the Tennessee on Monday the 20th, and landed on 
the lower point, immediately on the Bank of the Ohio. Our 
situation here is truly disagreeable. The river is very high, 
and the current rapid, our boats not constructed for the pur- 
pose of stemming a rapid stream, our provision exhausted, 
the crews almost worn down with hunger and fatigue, and 
know not what distance we have to go, or what time it will 
take us to our place of destination. The scene is rendered 
still more melancholy, as several boats will not attempt to 
ascend the rapid current. Some intend to descend the Mis- 
sissippi to Natchez ; others are bound for the Illinois — among 
the rest my son-in-law and daughter. We now part, per- 
haps to meet no more, for I am determined to pursue my 
course, happen what will. 

"Tuesday, 21st. — Set out, and on labored very 
hard, and got but a little way: camped on the south bank of 
the Ohio. Passed the two following days as the former, 
suffering much from hunger and fatigue. 

"Friday, 24th. — About three o'clock came to the mouth 
of a river which I thought was the Cumberland. Some of 
the company declared it could not be, it was so much smaller 
than was expected. But I never heard of any river running 
in between the Cumberland and Tennessee. It appeared 
to flow with a gentle current. We determined, however, to 
make the trial, pushed up some distance, and encamped for 
the night. 

"Saturday, 25th. — Today we are much encouraged; the 
river grows wider ; the current is very gentle : we are now 
convinced it is the Cumberland. I have derived great as- 
sistance from a small square sail, which was fixed up on 
the day we left the mouth of the river ; and to prevent any 
ill effects from sudden flaws of wind, a man was stationed 
at each of the lower corners of the sheet, with directions to 
give way whenever it was necessary. 

"Sunday, 26th. — Got under way early; procured some 
buffalo meat; though poor, it was palatable. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 1 1 1 

''Monday, 27th. — Set out again ; killed a swan, which was 
very delicious. 

"Tuesday, 28th. — Set out very early this morning ; killed 
some buffalo. 

"Wednesday, 29th. — Proceeded up the river; gathered 
some herbs on the bottoms of Cumberland, which some of 
the company called 'Shawanee Salad.' 

"Thursday, 30th. — Proceeded on our voyage. This day 
we killed some more buffalo. 

"Friday, 31st. — Set out this day, and, after running some 
distance, met with Colonel Richard Henderson, who was 
running the line between Virginia and North Carolina. At 
this meeting we were much rejoiced. He gave us every in- 
formation we wished, and further informed us that he had 
purchased a quantity of corn in Kentucky, to be shipped at 
the Falls of Ohio, for the use of the Cumberland settlement. 
We are now without bread, and are compelled to hunt the 
buffalo to preserve life. Worn out with fatigue, our pro- 
gress at present is slow. Camped at night near the mouth 
of a little river, at which place, and below, there is a hand- 
some bottom of rich land. Here we found a pair of hand 
millstones, set up for grinding, but appeared not to have 
been used for a great length of time. Proceeded on quietly 
until the 12th of April, at which time we came to the mouth 
of a little river running on the north side, by Moses Ren- 
froe and his company called 'Red River,' up which they 
intended to settle. Here they took leave of us. We pro- 
ceeded up Cumberland, nothing happening material until 
the 23d, when we reached the first settlement on the north 
side of the river, one mile and a half below the Big Salt 
Lick, and called Eaton's Station, after a man of that name, 
who, with several other families, came through Kentucky 
and settled there. 

"Monday, April 24th. — This day we arrived at our jour- 
ney's end at the Big Salt Lick, where we have the pleasure 
of finding Capt. Robertson and his company. It is a source 
of satisfaction to us to be enabled to restore to him and 
others their families and friends, who were entrusted to our 
care, and who, some time since, perhaps, despaired of ever 
meeting again. Though our prospects at present are 
dreary, we have found a few log cabins which have been 
built on a cedar bluff above the Lick by Capt. Robertson 
and his company." 

The names of the persons who came in this company are 
given by Capt. Donelson as follows : 

112 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

John Donelson, Sr. Mrs. Henry (widow). 

Thomas Hutchings. Frank Armstrong. 

John Caffrey. Hugh Rogan. 

John Donelson, Jr. Daniel Chambers. 
James Robertson's lady Robert Cartwright. 

and children. Stuart. 

Mrs. Purnell. David Gwinn. 

M. Rounsifer. John Boyd. 

James Cain. Reuben Harrison. 

Isaac Neelly. Frank Haney. 

Jonathan Jennings. Maxwell. 

Benjamin Belew. John Montgomery. 

Peter Looney. John Cotton. 

Capt. John Blackemore. Thomas Henry. 

Moses Renfroe. Mr. Cockrell. 

Wm. Crutchfield. Payne (killed). 

Mr. Johns. John White. 

Hugh Henry, Sr. Solomon White. 
Benjamin Porter. 

This list, however, does not include everyone in the party ; 
there were women, children and servants not named, and 
the estimate is that there were about one hundred and sixty 
persons with him, of whom from thirty to forty were men, 
who handled and propelled the boat and defended it against 
Indian attacks. Colonel Donelson had his entire family 
with him and it was a large family, and he had also a num- 
ber of servants. Mrs. James Robertson and her five chil- 
dren were also along. In the party was Mrs. Peyton, the 
mother of Honorable Bailey Peyton, distinguished in the 
politics of Tennessee and son of Ephraim Peyton, who ac- 
companied James Robertson by the overland route with stock 
from the Watauga to the Cumberland. Robertson's party 
was to get to the Cumberland first, if possible, and build 
cabins for the reception of Colonel Donelson's party, com- 
ing by water. 

Putnam throws this interesting light on the water trip. 

"The party of immigrants, who joined Colonel Donelson 
at the mouth of Clinch, was under the direction and com- 
mand of Captain John Blackmore : They started from Fort 
Blackmore on Clinch River. From the statements of Capt. 
Blackmore, Cartwright and others, we are justified in stat- 
ing that there were some thirty or forty boats (flats, dug- 
outs and canoes), in the united fleet, and none of them with 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 1 1 3 

less than two families and their goods on board. Few of 
these crafts were constructed to stem the current, but rather 
to float down with the current. In Donelson's boat there 
were three families." 

Every school in Tennessee should give careful study to 
Colonel Donelson's water journey to Nashville. It was a 
heroic achievement and all ought to be taught to so view it. 
The school histories of the State should give it ample space 
to the end that the courage, sacrifices and achievements of 
some of the founders of the State be known and cherished 
by every citizen. Unfortunately we forget great things, 
even when accomplished by our own people on our own 
soil ; and it is a safe estimate that a very small per cent of 
school children, who study Tennessee History, could tell 
anything about the water journey to the City of Nashville. 

Colonel Donelson selected Clover Bottom as his home, 
which is a short distance west of the bridge across Stone 
River on the present Lebanon Pike, and there erected some 
rude temporary structures to live in until he and his ser- 
vants could clear land and plant a crop. Later they were 
attacked by the Indians with disastrous results, and his 
land was overflown; when Colonel Donelson determined to 
move into the State of Kentucky, where he had land claims 
and friends. 

In 1783, Colonel Donelson and Colonel Martin were 
commissioned by the Governor of Virginia to hold a treaty 
with the Cherokees and Chickasaw Indians, and after this 
treaty was held at Nashville, Colonel Donelson returned to 
Kentucky, and remained there until 1785, when he went to 
Virginia, where he had interests, but with the determination 
to return and move his family back to the Cumberland Set- 

Putnam, tells us that while a member of the House of 
Burgesses in Virginia, he signed an address, which advo- 
cated the placing American industries upon a footing more 
independent of the restrictive policy of the mother country, 
which address was signed by Washington, Jackson, Patrick 
Henry, Lee, Randolph, Donelson, and other members of the 
House of Burgesses. 

114 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

His death is a mystery, that was never solved. He had 
started back from Virginia to Kentucky, pursuing the usual 
route by Cumberland Gap, and on to Davis' Station. It 
seems that he was joined by two young white men, who 
were going as they said to Nashville. At one point on the 
journey Colonel Doneison rode on ahead of the two young 
men, when they said they heard guns fire, and going to 
where the sounds came from, found Colonel Doneison shot, 
but able to travel a short distance further, where they 
stopped and camped for the night on Barren River. There 
he died and they buried him. Necessarily, suspicion of 
murder fell upon the young men, but there was no proof, 
and they were not prosecuted. 

It would be impossible in a brief sketch like this to give 
a just statement of the life, character, and achievements of 
Colonel Doneison; that would take a volume, and it would 
be a very happy incident connected with early Tennessee 
history, if some one would write his life and give us every 
available detail about a man, who, as we look back and view 
his achievements, can fairly claim the right to be consid- 
ered one of the great men of his day and generation. 


Andrew Jackson's devotion to his wife, Rachel Doneison 
Jackson, did not stop with her, but embraced everybody that 
was anything to her. General Jackson's immediate 
family were all dead, his father, mother and brothers. 
Along with other characteristics, he was a man of a decid- 
edly domestic turn, and very warm in his affections to those 
he cared for. Numerous members of the Doneison family 
were objects of his affection, and among these none more 
than Andrew Jackson Doneison. 

Andrew Jackson Doneison was the son of Samuel Don- 
eison and a nephew of Mrs. Andrew Jackson. Samuel Don- 
eison was Jackson's law partner, who died at the Hermitage 
suddenly on his return from Nashville, when he stopped in 
at the Hermitage to see his sister, Mrs. Jackson. He lived 
three or four miles North of the Hermitage. After his law 
partner's death, General Jackson took his son, Andrew 
Jackson Doneison, who was just a child, on horseback to 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 1 15 

the Hermitage and raised and educated him; and he was 
associated in various capacities with General Jackson for 
thirty-seven years. The General sent him to West Point, 
where he graduated, completing the four years' course there 
in three; also graduated at Cumberland University and at 
Lexington, Kentucky. While he did not adopt him, the 
General treated him always as his son. Young Donelson 
attained rank and title of Major and was on General Jack- 
son's staff in Florida ; was his private Secretary eight years 
that Jackson was president, and his wife filled the position 
of mistress of the White House; and there four of Major 
Donelson's children were born, the first children born in 
the White House. He was appointed by President Polk 
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Prus- 
sia; was Charge de Affairs to France and Charge de Af- 
fairs to Texas; was editor of the Washington Union, and 
was nominated on the ticket for Vice President of the 
United States with Millard Filmore, in 1856. He owned a 
plantation in Mississippi, and died at Memphis, Tennessee, 
on his way back from his plantation, on June 26th, 1871. 
He was born August 25th, 1800. His first wife was his 
cousin, Emily Donelson, daughter of Capt. John Donelson ; 
and his second wife was also his cousin, Elizabeth Martin, 
daughter of Capt. John Donelson and widow of Lewis P. 
Randolph, grandson of Thomas Jefferson. Three of his 
sons, Daniel S., Martin and William, were born in Berlin, 
Prussia, when Major Donelson was Minister to Prussia. 

The following letter exhibits General Jackson at his best 
as a letter writer on a high plane, and also the kind feeling 
he entertained for Major Donelson. 


"Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 20, 1821 
"Dear Sir: 

"My nephew, Lieut. Andrew J. Donelson, whom I have 
educated as my son will hand you this; he has just finished 
his education at the Military Academy, is attached to the 
Engineering corps and visits the lower country to procure 
and report to me some necessary information relative to the 
frontier northwest of Louisiana, rendered necessary for its 
protection and defense, and to visit the fortifications on our 

1 16 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Southern borders. I have a great wish that Lieut. Donel- 
son should become acquainted with you and your amiable 
family, and have charged him if official duties will permit 
him, to call and pay his respects to you and your family, 
and have to ask for him your friendly attention. Lieut. 
Donelson is young, but I trust you will find him modest and 
unassuming; possessing as good an education as any of his 
age in America ; of good moral habits, and entirely clean of 
all the dissipations too common to the youth of the modern 
day ; and as such I beg leave to make him known to you and 
your family. 

"With a tender of my best regards for you and your 
family believe me to be with due respect your most obedient 
servant, "ANDREW JACKSON. 

"Captain Fennon." 

On May 24, 1845, General Jackson addressed a letter to 
Major Donelson at Washington, Texas, where he was the 
representative of the United States in the matter of the 
annexation of Texas. This letter, like the one just quoted, 
illustrates General Jackson's devotion to him : 

"My dear Major: I rejoice that you will nobly execute 
your mission and bring the Lone Star into our glorious 
Union. It will give you such a standing in our country that 
Colonel Polk can yield to you such an appointment as will be 
both agreeable and profitable. This he is pledged to do and 
will do, I had liked to have said, must do. 

"My dear Andrew, what may be my fate God only 
knows — I am greatly afflicted — suffer much, and it would be 
almost a miracle if I should survive my present attack. * 
* * * How far my God may think proper to bear me up 
under my weight of afflictions, He only knows. But my 
dear Major, live or die, you have my blessing and prayers 
for your welfare and happiness in this world, and that we 
may meet in a blissful immortality. Jackson is doing well 
at the academy. He will realize all our best wishes. My 
whole family, children and all, kindly salute you, your af- 
fectionate uncle, ANDREW JACKSON." 


Andrew Jackson Donelson was prominent in the coun- 
cils of the Democratic party during the Jackson and Polk 
era, but history has not recorded him as a great man, or 
as having accomplished any great achievement for his coun- 
try; and in failing to recognize the full measure of his serv- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 1 1 7 

ices in the annexation of Texas, history has not done him 
full justice. His success in aid of the annexation ought to 
be a sure title to remembrance by the people of the United 
States. After Texas had become independent through the 
victory of Sam Houston at San Jacinto, it knocked more 
than once at the door of the Federal Union, but was not 
admitted. Finally Congress passed an act setting forth in 
the alternative the terms on which annexation could take 
place, and Major Donelson was sent by President John Tyler 
to Texas in November, 1844, as the representative of the 
United States to aid in bringing about the acceptance by 
Texas of the terms of admission of the United States; and 
Major Donelson accepted this mission, went to Texas, and 
stayed there until that State accepted without qualification 
the terms of Congress. His success was perfect and was so 
recognized at the time. 

In a letter to him of January 9, 1845, John C. Calhoun, 
Secretary of State, paid him this tribute : 

"I am happy to inform you that the course you have 
pursued has met the entire approbation of the Executive. 
The important points were to secure the confidence of the 
government of Texas and to keep open the question of 
annexation, in both of which your efforts have been entirely 

On July 27th, 1845, President Polk wrote to Major Don- 
elson in Texas : 

"General Besancon arrived here this evening bearing 
your despatches announcing the gratifying intelligence that 
the Convention of Texas had accepted our terms of annexa- 
tion as proposed to her, without condition or alteration. 
You have had an important agency in consummating this 
great event, and it gives me pleasure to say to you that your 
whole conduct meets the appreciation of your government, 
as it must of the country. * * * 

"Congratulating you and the country on the success of 
your mission, ****** 

A letter from Major Donelson to Andrew Jackson dated 
May 28, 1845, at Washington, Texas, throws an interesting 
light on Sam Houston, his attitude in reference to the an- 
nexation of Texas, and Donelson's affection for Andrew 
Jackson : 

1 1 8 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"General Houston leaves here in a day or two for the 
Hermitage with his lady and son, and his friends Mr. Miller 
and Colonel Eldredge. You will find that the General has 
redeemed his pledge to restore Texas to the Union whenever 
the door was opened by the United States and reasonable 
terms were offered. He thought at first we might have 
negotiated on Mr. Walker's amendment, but when convinced 
that there was danger in delay, he has nobly advised the 
Government and the people to ratify the proposals offered 
by me, without dotting an i or crossing a t. 

"You will find Mrs. Houston a most amiable, pious and 
cultivated lady. When they arrive let Mrs. Donelson know 
it, to whom I have written requesting her to open her house 
to the General and suite. * * * 

"My great wish is to see you again. May Heaven bless 
the wish, and save your life yet longer for the good of our 
country, and the happiness of your friends and relations." 


Sam Houston all of his life was on the most intimate 
terms with Andrew Jackson and with Jackson's coterie of 
intimate friends, and any expression from those sources in 
reference to Houston is interesting, especially before Texas 
had been admitted to the Union, and before Houston had re- 
established himself politically in the United States after his 
resignation as Governor of Tennessee, followed by his resi- 
dence among the Indians. 

On May 28th, 1845, Major Donelson at New Orleans, ad- 
dressed a very extended letter to Thomas Ritchie covering 
a number of topics, and one of them Sam Houston, in which 
he says: 

"Our friends here (New Orleans) treated Houston 
kindly, having invited him to a public dinner, and afforded 
him an opportunity by public speech to explain his course 
on the annexation question. He declines the dinner, but 
makes the speech this evening — after this he goes to Nash- 
ville by the first good conveyance. 

"He delivered a temperance speech yesterday evening, 
gratifying a large audience by an elocution and sentiment 
that would have commanded applause before the best crit- 
ics. The truth is Houston is a reformed and improved man. 
Fortunately married to a lady of fine endowments, com- 
bining genuine religion with an amiable simplicity of man- 
ners, natural goodness of heart with a romantic taste, he 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 1 1 9 

realizes in the connection those fruits so happily described 
by Frederica Brehmer as the effect of a happy union of the 

"Chastised by deep affliction, and wonderfully preserved 
by Providence from the wreck which usually overtakes those 
who embark on a sea of wild adventure, Houston comes back 
to his native land with a renovated constitution, and a mind 
greatly enlarged. He seems determined to atone for the 
disappointment of his friends, when he exiled himself, and 
sought an asylum in the hospitality of old King Folly, by 
dedicating his future life to their service, as the able advo- 
cate of virtue, and the firm supporter of those great princi- 
ples which form the basis of the Democratic party. There 
was never a man more popular than he is now with his 
countrymen — and this is no small compliment when we look 
at the trials he has encountered with them and the magni- 
tude of the interests he has managed for them. It was his 
policy and tact, maintained against all the obstacles, which 
envy and recklessness could throw in his way, that destroyed 
Santa Anna. So also was it his will and judgment 
that saved the Republic in its civil administration from be-; 
ing torn to pieces by the spirit of reckless extravagance. 

"During the whole of his administration he kept at bay 
all foreign influence; and though always tempted, never 
swerved once from the road which led to the restoration of 
Texas to the Republican family. He goes to the Hermitage 
to carry to its venerable tenant the pleasing tidings of the 
attainment of all his hopes on this great question, and to pay 
him the homage which is due to him. Remember that Hous- 
ton was once a private soldier, then a sergeant, then a lieu- 
tenant, and in all the stages of his service he received in- 
struction and friendly aid from Genl. Jackson. He even 
goes so far as to give Genl. Jackson the credit of the victory 
of the battle of San Jacinto, saying that it was the result of 
the principles which he had seen illustrated at the Horse 
shoe, Emukfau, and Taledega. 

"With such feelings and an admiration thus formed, 
it is but natural he should wish to pay a visit to his early 
friend and benefactor before he sinks, to the tomb ; and I 
pray that the Almighty may bless his visit to the good of 
the country, and the happiness of the aged and infirm tenant 
of the Hermitage." 

President Polk's feelings toward Sam Houston are 
shown in a letter from him at Washington City May 6, 1845, 
addressed to Major Donelson, at Washington, Texas, in 
which the President uses this language : 

120 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"We desire most anxiously that she (Texas) will accept 
the offer as made to her, and if she does, she may rely upon 
our magnanimity and sense of justice toward her. We will 
act in a way that will satisfy her. I hope her people and 
government will not hesitate. Nothing could give me more 
pleasure personally, and nothing I am sure would give a 
vast majority of our people more pleasure, than to see my 
old friend Houston bring her constitution in his hand as one 
of our Senators, take his seat in the Senate of the United 
States next winter. Surely he will not, cannot, hesitate. 
Make my kind respects to Houston and tell him that I hope 
to soon welcome the young republic of which he was the 
founder, into our confederacy of States, and to see him the 
representative of her sovereignty in our Senate." 

In Jackson's letter to Major Donelson of May 24, 1845, 
above quoted, in reference to an appointment by President 
Polk for Major Donelson, Old Hickory assumes the role of a 
prophet, and said "this (appointment) he is pledged to do 
and will do, I had liked to have said, must do," and a good 
prophet he was. On March 5, 1846, about ten months after- 
wards, Donelson received from President Polk at Washing- 
ton a letter which must have been very pleasant reading, 
for the President says: 

"I have this day nominated you to the Senate as Extra- 
ordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Prussia. I pre- 
sume there will be no objection to your confirmation," and 
on April 20, 1846, Major Donelson called on the President 
at Washington on his way to assume the duties of the posi- 
tion of Minister to Prussia. 

But the President's favor did not stop there ; on August 
5, 1848, he nominated Donelson as Envoy Extraordinary 
and Minister Plenipotentiary to the German Confederation. 

Other parts of this book give the account of the adoption 
by General Jackson of the son of Severn Donelson, Mrs. 
Jackson's brother, and the changing of the name of the 
adopted son, to Andrew Jackson, Jr. 

Limitations will not permit detailed statements in refer- 
ence to all members of the Donelson family. It is sufficient 
for our purpose to say that the family developed from pio- 
neer days into one of the most distinguished in the South, 
and has maintained its prestige as one of the highest char- 
acter, refinement, ability and patriotism. 


Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 121 



The city of Nashville has from its very foundation paid 
homage to James Robertson and John Donelson as its 
founders, and as the years have gone by these two have 
become, as every one thought, exclusively enshrined in the 
hearts of all citizens in that capacity. As stated in an- 
other chapter, nothing gives a man a higher or more per- 
manent place in history than to found a city. But for a 
few years past a strong, enthusiastic and aggressive voice 
has been heard in the State of North Carolina coming from 
Dr. Archibald Henderson, a kinsman in the fourth degree, 
of Colonel Richard Henderson, claiming that not only is 
Colonel Richard Henderson entitled to be considered along 
with Robertson and Donelson as founders of Nashville, but 
that he was actually the original progenitor of the city, and 
that through his influence and that of the Transylvania 
Company of which he was President, Robertson and Don- 
elson first made their way, the one by land and the other 
by water, in that dreary winter of 1779-80, in which Rob- 
ertson crossed the frozen Cumberland River on January 1, 
1780, to lay the foundations of the future city, and Donel- 
son, coming by water, finally reached his co-laborer in the 
great historic undertaking of founding the capital city of 
Tennessee. Dr. Archibald Henderson has written a num- 
ber of articles, sketches and pamphlets bearing upon the 
Transylvania Company and its activities in attempting to 
buy Kentucky and Tennessee, and get title thereto, and to 
open the same for the civilization of men of white skin. It 
is impossible here to go into all the details of Dr. Hender- 
son's contentions and statements as to the activities of the 
Transylvania Company and Richard Henderson. We think 
it best to state some at least of his claims in his own words, 
and for that purpose we quote from a speech made by him 
April 27, 1916, in Watkins Hall, Nashville, before a joint 
meeting of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association and 

122 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

the Tennessee Historical Society, upon the subject of "Rich- 
ard Henderson: The Authorship of the Cumberland Com- 
pact and the Founding of Nashville." Whether Dr. Hen- 
derson's contentions for his ancestor shall ultimately be 
accepted in all their breadth, it is unnecessary here to 
attempt to decide, but it can be said that everything that 
he has written upon the subject is profoundly interesting 
and educational to the people of Tennessee, and it is to be 
hoped in the interest of historical accuracy and justice, that 
if the matter is capable of definite and conclusive settle- 
ment at all, that it will be settled irrevocably one way or the 
other; and Tennesseans will raise no adverse voice if con- 
clusive testimony is produced, and it is demonstrated that 
Henderson has the right to stand as a founder along by the 
side of James Robertson and John Donelson. 

In his address at Watkins Hall, Dr. Henderson first gave 
the facts of the repudiation by the State of Kentucky of the 
purchase by the Transylvania Company, of the territory of 
Kentucky from the Indians, by which repudiation the am- 
bition of Henderson and his associates was crushed in their 
attempt to found an independent State upon the soil of the 
"dark and bloody ground." The historic dream vanished 
and with it went a demonstration of one of the most daring 
enterprises connected with the colonization of any new coun- 
try, and we are disposed to believe that eventually Richard 
Henderson may be shown to deserve to stand in the same 
class with Cecil Rhodes, James J. Hill and others of like 
calibre and record, as developers and builders of new coun- 

Taking up the plan of a colony upon the soil of Tennes- 
see, Dr. Henderson enters upon an argument for what he 
considers a more just historical setting for his ancestor. 
We quote : 


"With the bursting of the Transylvania bubble and the 
vanishing of the golden dreams of Henderson and his asso- 
ciates for establishing the Fourteenth American Colony in 
the heart of the trans-Alleghany region all might well have 
seemed lost. But is Richard Henderson disheartened by 
this failure of his imperialistic dreams? Does he, as Mr. 
Roosevelt crassly affirms, 'drift out of history'? No; the 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 123 

purest and greatest achievement of his meteoric career still 
lies before him. The genius of the colonizer and the ambi- 
tion of the speculator, in striking conjunction, inspire him 
to attempt to repeat on North Carolina soil, along solidly 
practical lines, the revolutionary experiment which the ex- 
tension of the sovereignty of the Old Dominion ewer the 
Kentucky area had doomed to inevitable failure. It was no 
longer his purpose, however, to attempt to found an inde- 
pendent colony separate from North Carolina and hostile to 
the American Government as in the case of Transylvania 
which had been hostile to the royal government and founded 
in defiance thereof." * * * 

"Judge Henderson's comprehensive design of the pro- 
motion of an extensive colonization of the Cumberland re- 
gion now moves rapidly towards completion. It is simply 
a case of history repeating itself. Just as Henderson in his 
B'oonesboro project had chosen Daniel Boone, the ablest of 
the North Carolina pioneers, and his companions to spy out 
the land and select sites for permanent future settlement, 
so now he chooses the leader as the leader of the new colo- 
nizing party the ablest pioneer of the Watauga Settlement, 
James Robertson. Large inducements to assemble and lead 
this party were indubitably offered by the Transylvania 
Company to James Robertson. Nothing less than such in- 
ducements would have influenced Robertson to abandon the 
comparatively peaceable Watauga Settlement, where he was 
the acknowledged leader and the Indian agent in the employ 
of the State of North Carolina, to venture his life in this des- 
perate hazard of new fortunes." * * * 

"Meantime, the colonization of the Cumberland insti- 
gated by Judge Henderson as President of the Transylvania 
Company and to be engineered by James Robertson, had 
been delayed: and the party of settlers had failed to start 
from the Long Island on March 1, as prophetized by Rob- 
ertson. Colonel Nathaniel Hart, one of the proprietors of 
the Transylvania Company living at Boonesboro, Kentucky, 
actively fostered the plans for the expedition by w T ater of 
Colonel John Donelson, and supplied him with some corn 
for the journey. 'In Connection With the Early History of 
Kentucky,' records his son, Colonel Nathaniel Hart, Jr., 'it 
may not be amiss to state that Cumberland — now Middle 
Tennessee, was also mainly settled under the auspices of 
Henderson & Company.' * * * Dr. Archibald Hender- 
son gives as his authority for this statement a letter written 
by Colonel Nathaniel Hart, Jr., to Wilkins Tannehill in the 
Louisville News-Letter, a newspaper, of May 23, 1840. 

"Meantime the fate of this colony (Cumberland) which 
he had promoted and upon whose efforts the subsequent fate 

124 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

of the Transylvania Company depended, was weighing 
heavily upon the mind of Judge Henderson. The terrible 
hardships of this bitter winter ever afterwards known as 
the Hard Winter, which he had endured in the course of 
his difficult and dangerous journey to Boonesboro, brought 
to his mind the thought of equal or greater hardships which 
Robertson and his party must likewise have borne in their 
arduous journey overland to the French Lick. But his con- 
cern was, if anything, greater for the party of men, with 
many women and children, also destined for the French 
Lick, who, under the leadership of Colonel John Donelson, 
had set sail from Fort Patrick Henry, on Holston River, in 
the good boat Adventure, on December 22, 1779. With pa- 
ternalistic care and a lively sense of responsibility for the 
welfare of these two parties which he had himself induced 
to make the great venture, Judge Henderson proceeds to 
purchase in Kentucky at huge cost a large stock of corn for 
the colony at French Lick." 

"The most memorable entries in Donelson's famous 
journal are the references to Henderson and Robertson — 
projector and leader respectively of the Cumberland Set- 
tlement. Although James Robertson failed to meet Donel- 
son at the Muscle Shoals or to leave signs there for their 
guidance, they were met further up the river on Friday, 
March 31, by the watchful and anxious Henderson. The 
entry in Donelson's journal demonstrated the wise fore- 
thought of the promoter of the settlement, read as f ollow r s : 
'Set out this day and after running some distance met with 
Colonel Richard Henderson, who was running the line be- 
tween Virginia and North Carolina. At this meeting we 
were much rejoiced. He gave us every information we 
wished and further informed us that he had purchased a 
quantity of corn in Kentucky to be shipped to the falls of 
the Ohio for the use of the Cumberland Settlement. We 
are now without bread and are compelled to hunt the buffalo 
to preserve life.' " * * * 

"The lapse of time now forbids me to pursue further 
this story of the strenuous struggles and incredible hard- 
ships of the Cumberland Settlers, who established here a 
permanent bulwark against the copper-hued savage and 
laid here forever the foundations of what is now the great 
and populous city of Nashville. I will content myself with 
presenting to you one fundamental historical truth as the 
culmination of this research. This is the question in re- 
gard to the authorship of the famous Cumberland Compact. 
The cock-sure Mr. Roosevelt with his habitual dogmatism 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 125 

concludes without proof or evidence that the author of that 
remarkable document was James Robertson. The inherent 
truth of the situation, if other evidence were not finally con- 
clusive, demonstrates this to be impossible. The best in- 
formed writer on this subject, Putnam, who in 1846 discov- 
ered the original document now jealously preserved in the 
archives of the Tennessee Historical Society: 'As Richard 
Henderson and the other members of the Transylvania 
Land Company were here at this juncture, April, 1780, he, 
Henderson, was foremost in urging some form of govern- 
ment.' A brief inspection will demonstrate its character. 
First of all, the Cumberland Compact is a mutual contract 
between the co-partners of the Transylvania Company and 
the settlers upon the land claimed by the company. It is 
moreover a bill of rights through careful provisions safe- 
guarding the rights of each party to the contract. The 
significant feature of the document is that it is an elaborate 
legal paper which could have been drafted only by one 
intimately versed in the intricacies of the law and its 
terminology." * * * 

"The indisputable facts that Richard Henderson eminent 
as lawyer and jurist was the only lawyer on the Cumberland 
in May, 1870, and that his name heads the list of 230-odd 
signatures to the document known as the Cumberland Com- 
pact, has led one of the Justices of our own Supreme Court, 
a deep student of the early history of Tennessee, the Hon. 
Samuel C. Williams, to state in print that 'without serious 
doubt' Judge Henderson was the draftsman of the com- 
pact of government." * * * 

"It may be the time is not far distant when in this 
great city of Nashville patriotically signalized by its monu- 
ments and memorials to James Robertson, sagacious and 
paternal leader, and to John Donelson, intrepid and suc- 
cessful pioneer, there shall be erected some adequate memo- 
rial to the pioneering genius and empire-building imagina- 
tion of the man who inaugurated and engineered the hazard- 
ous and arduous enterprise of a settlement at the French 
Lick, drafted the Cumberland Compact, and his right of 
title to divide with James Robertson and John Donaldson 
the honors in the founding of Nashville." 

In the Tennessee Historical Magazine for September, 
1916, in which the above speech is printed in full, there is 
published as an appendix to the speech, an affidavit signed 
by W. A. Provine and John H. DeWitt, President of the 
Tennessee Historical Society, as follows : 

126 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 


State of Tennessee, 
County of Davidson. 

"We, W. A. Provine and John H. DeWitt, make oath 
that on April 28, 1916, with Dr. Archibald Henderson, of 
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, we carefully examined the 
original Cumberland Compact in the custody of the Ten- 
nessee Historical Society, and compared the same with cer- 
tain photographic facsimiles of certan pages of writing 
furnished us as the genuine handwriting of Judge Richard 
Henderson, of North Carolina, who was President of the 
Transylvania Company, to wit, a page of the diary of Rich- 
ard Henderson written in 1775, the original of which is in 
the Draper Manuscripts at Madison, Wisconsin; a photo- 
static copy of his memorial to the Legislature of North 
Carolina in 1784, the original of which is in the archives 
of the North Carolina Historical Commission, Raleigh, 
North Carolina, and a pencil tracing of his signature as 
Judge of the Superior Court of North Carolina, the original 
of which is in the courthouse at Salisbury, North Carolina. 
The information as to the nature and location of his papers 
being furnished us by Dr. Archibald Henderson. While 
our attention was not given to the subject matter of these 
writings, nevertheless, we made a very careful comparison 
of the handwriting with the handwriting of the text of the 
Cumberland Compact and the name of Richard Henderson 
as the first signer thereto ; and we are both convinced with- 
out reservation that the handwriting of the Cumberland 
Compact and all of the aforesaid documents is one and the 
same. We especially noted that the signatures of Judge 
Richard Henderson as traced from the Salisbury courthouse 
records and as appended to the Cumberland Compact, are 

"We are convinced from these comparisons that Judge 
Richard Henderson was the draftsman and author of the 
original Cumberland Compact. 

(Signed) "W. A. Provine. 
"John H. DeWitt. 

"Sworn to and subscribed before me on this the 30th 
day of May, 1916. 

"John H. Lechleiter, Notary Public:' 

This affidavit would appear to demonstrate that Dr. Hen- 
derson has made out his case in favor of his ancestor so 
far as the authorship of the Cumberland Compact is con- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 127 

cerned, and if he accomplished nothing else for that an- 
cestor than to prove that he wrote that great historical doc- 
ument, he would have accomplished a great deal. 

The Anglo-Saxon instinct is for government and law, 
and nowhere has this been more thoroughly demonstrated 
than in the settlements west of the Alleghany Mountains, 
where the Watauga people formed the Watauga Association 
under a written compact with each other; where the Cum- 
berland settlers formed a government under the name of 
the Cumberland Compact, and where under the trees at 
Boonesboro, Kentucky, the hardy pioneers organized them- 
selves in a form of government of their own make. 

The Cumberland Compact is a very old document, and 
has been published in Tennessee before, but knowledge of 
it is exceedingly limited upon the part of citizens of the 
State, and we republish it in full in order that the present 
generation may see in it the genius for self-government 
upon the part of their ancestry, and also in order that de- 
scendants of those who signed this compact may have the 
justifiable pride of seeing the names of their ancestors in a 
great patriotic document. The Compact follows: 


"Articles of Agreement, or Compact of Government, 
entered into by settlers on the Cumberland River, 1st May, 

[The first page is lost, and the second torn and defaced, 
but we can read distinctly as follows, supplying in brackets 
lost words.] 

" . . . property of right shall be determined as 
soon [as] conveniently may be, in the following manner: 
The free men of this country over the age [of twenty] one 
years shall immediately, or as soon as may [be convenient] 
proceed to elect or choose twelve conscientious and [de- 
serving*] persons from or out of the different stations, that 
is [to] say: From Nashborough, three; Gasper's, two; 
Bledsoe's, one ; Asher's, one ; Stone's River, one ; Freeland's, 
one; Eaton's, two; Fort Union, one. Which said persons, 
or a majority of them, after being bound by the solemnity 
of an oath to do equal and impartial justice between all 
contending parties, according to the best of their skill and 

128 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

judgment, having due re[gard] to the regulations of the 
Land Office herein established, shall be competent judges 
of the matter, and . . . hearing the allegations of both 
parties, and [their] witnesses, as to the facts alleged, or 
otherwise . . . as to the truth of the case, shall have 
[power] to decide the controversies, and determine who is 
of right entitled to an entry for such land so in dispute, 
when said determination or decision shall be forever bind- 
ing] and conclusive against the future claim of the party 
against whom such judgment [shall be rendered]. And the 
Entry Taker shall make a [record thereof] in his book ac- 
cordingly, and the entry . . . tending party so cast 
shall be . . . if it had never been made, and the land 
in dispute ... to the person in whose favor such judg- 
ment shall . . . 

"... in case of the death, removal, or absence of 
any of the judges so chosen, or their refusing to act, the 
station to which such person 'or persons belong, or was 
chosen from, shall proceed to elect another or others in 
his or their stead ; which person or persons so chosen, after 
being sworn, as aforesaid, to do equal and impartial justice, 
shall have full power and authority to proceed to business 
and act in all disputes respecting the premises, as if they 
had been originally chosen at the first election. 

"That the entry book shall be kept fair and open by 
. . . person . . . to be appointed by said Richard 
Henderson . . . chose, and every entry for land num- 
bered and dated, and . . . order without leaving any 
blank leaves or spaces, ... to the inspection of the 
said twelve judges, or . . . of them, at all times. 

"That whereas many persons have come to this country 
without implements of husbandry* and from other circum- 
stances are obliged to return without making a crop, and 
[intend] removing out this fall, or early next spring, and 
it . . . reason . . . such should have the preemp- 
tion] ... of such places as they may have chosen 
. . . the purpose of residence, therefore it is . . . 
be taken for all such, for as much land as they are entitled to 
for their head rights, which said lands shall be reserved 
for the particular person in whose name they shall be en- 
tered, or their heirs ; provided such persons shall remove to 
this country and take possession of the respective place or 
piece of land so chosen or entered, or shall send a laborer 
or laborers, and a white person in his or her stead, to per- 
form the same, on or before the first day of May, in the 
year one thousand seven hundred and eighty-one; and also 
provided such land so chosen and entered for is not entered 

Jackson Statue, Capitol Grounds, Nashville. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 129 

and claimed by some person who is an inhabitant, and shall 
raise a crop of corn the present year at some station or 
place convenient to the general settlement in this country. 
But it is fully to be understood that those who are actually 
at this time inhabitants of this country shall not be de- 
barred of their choice or claim on account of the right of 
any such absent or returning person or persons. It is fur- 
ther proposed and agreed that no claim or title to any lands 
whatsoever shall be set up by any person in consequence of 
any mark, or former improvement, unless the same be en- 
tered with the Entry Taker within twenty days from the 
date of this association and agreement; and that when 
any person hereafter shall mark or improve land or lands 
for himself, such mark or improvement shall not avail him 
or be deemed an evidence of prior right unless the same be 
entered with the Entry Taker in thirty days . . . from 
the time of such mark or improvement ; but no other person 
shall be entitled to such lands so as aforesaid to be reserved 
. . . consequence of any purchase, gift, or otherwise. 

"That if the Entry Taker to be appointed shall neglect 
or refuse to perform his duty, or be found by the said 
Judges, or a majority of them, to have acted fraudulently, 
to the prejudice of any person whatsoever, such Entry 
Taker shall be immediately removed from his office, and the 
book taken out of his possession by the said Judges, until 
another shall be appointed to act in his room. 

"That as often as the people in general are dissatisfied 
with the doings of the Judges or Triers so to be chosen, they 
may call a new election at any of the said stations, and elect 
others in their stead, having due respect to the number now 
agreed to be elected at each station, which persons so to be 
chosen shall have the same power with those in whose room 
or place they shall or may be chosen to act. 

"That as no consideration-money for the lands on Cum- 
berland River, within the claim of the said Richard Hen- 
derson and Company, and which is the subject of this As- 
sociation, is demanded or expected by the said Company, 
until a satisfactory and indisputable title can be made, so 
we think it reasonable and just that the twenty-six pounds 
thirteen shillings and four pence, current money, per hun- 
dred acres, the price proposed by the said Richard Hender- 
son, shall be paid according to the value of money on the 
first day of January last, being the time when the price 
was made public [and] settlement encouraged thereon by 
said Henderson, and the said Richard Henderson on his 
part does hereby agree that in case of the rise or apprecia- 
tion of money from that ... an abatement shall be 

130 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

made in the sum according to its raised or appreciated value. 

"That when any person shall remove to this country 
with intent to become an inhabitant, and depart this life, 
either by violence or in the natural way, before he shall 
have performed the requisites necessary to obtain lands, 
the child or children of such deceased person shall be en- 
titled, in his or her room, to such quantity of land as such 
person would have been entitled to in case he or she had 
lived to obtain a grant in their own name ; and if such death 
be occasioned by the Indians, the said Henderson doth prom- 
ise and agree that the child or children shall have as much 
as amounts to their head-rights gratis, surveyor's and other 
incidental fees excepted. 

"And whereas, from our remote situation and want of 
proper offices for the administration of justice, no regular 
proceedings at law can be had, for the punishment of of- 
fenses and attainment of right, it is therefore agreed, that 
until we can be relieved by government from the many 
evils and inconveniences arising therefrom, the judges or 
triers to be appointed as before directed, when qualified, 
shall be and are hereby declared a proper court of jurisdic- 
tion for the recovery of any debt or damages ; or where the 
cause of action or complaint has arisen, or hereafter shall 
commence, for any thing done or to be done, among our- 
selves, within this our settlement on Cumberland aforesaid, 
or in our passage hither, where the laws of our country 
could not be executed, or damages repaired in any other 
way ; that is to say, in all cases where the debt or damages 
or demand does or shall not exceed one hundred dollars, 
any three of the said Judges or Triers shall be competent 
to make a Court, and finally decide the matter in contro- 
versy ; but if for a larger sum, and either party shall be dis- 
satisfied with the judgment or decision of such Court, they 
may have an appeal to the whole twelve Judges or Triers, 
in which case nine members shall be deemed a full Court, 
whose decision, if seven agree in one opinion, the matter in 
dispute shall be final, and their judgment carried into execu- 
tion in such manner, and by such person or persons, as they 
may appoint; and the said Courts, respectively, shall have 
full power to tax such costs as they may think just and 
reasonable, to be levied and collected with the debt or dam- 
ages so to be awarded. 

"And it is further agreed, that a majority of said Judges, 
Triers, or General Arbitrators, shall have power to punish 
in their discretion, having respect to the laws of our coun- 
try, all offenses against the peace, misdemeanors, and those 
criminal, or of a capital nature, provided such Court does 
not proceed with execution so far as to effect life or mem- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 131 

ber; and in case any shall be brought before them whose 
crime is or shall be dangerous to the State, or for which 
the benefit of clergy is taken away by law, and sufficient 
evidence or proof of the fact or facts can probably be made, 
such Court, or a majority of the members, shall and may 
order and direct him, her or them to be safely bound and 
sent under a strong guard to the place where the offense 
was or shall be committed, or where legal trial of such 
offense can be had, which shall accordingly be done, and the 
reasonable expense attending the discharge of this duty 
ascertained by the Court, and paid by the inhabitants in 
such proportion as shall be hereafter agreed on for that pur- 

"That as this settlement is in its infancy, unknown to 
government, and not included within any county within 
North Carolina, the State to which it belongs, so as to de- 
rive the advantages of those wholesome and salutary laws 
for the protection and benefit of its citizens, w T e find our- 
selves constrained from necessity to adopt this temporary 
method of restraining the licentious, and supplying, by 
unanimous consent, the blessings flowing from just and 
equitable government, declaring and promising that no ac- 
tion or complaint shall be hereafter instituted or lodged in 
any Court of Record within this State, or elsewhere, for 
any thing done or to be done in consequence of the proceed- 
ings of the said Judges or General Arbitrators so to be 
chosen and established by this our association. 

"That the well-being of this country entirely depends, 
under Divine Providence, on unanimity of sentiment and 
concurrence in measures, and as clashing interests and opin- 
ions, without being under some restraint, will most certainly 
produce confusion, discord and almost certain ruin, so we 
think it our duty to associate, and hereby form ourselves 
into one society for the benefit of present and future set- 
tlers, and until the full and proper exercise of the laws of 
our country can be in use, and the powers of government 
exerted among us : We do most solemnly and sacredly de- 
clare and promise each other, that we will faithfully and 
punctually adhere to, perform, and abide by this our Asso- 
ciation, and at all times, if need be, compel, by our united 
force, a due obedience to these, our rules and regulations. 
In testimony whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our 
names in token of our entire approbation of the measures 

The following or additional resolutions, and further as- 
sociation, were also entered into at Nashborough, this 13th 
day of May, 1780, to wit : 

132 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"That all young men over the age of sixteen years, and 
able to perform militia duty, shall be considered as having 
a full right to enter for and obtain lands in their own names, 
as if they were of full age ; and in that case not to be reck- 
oned in the family of his father, mother, or master, so as to 
avail them of any land on their account. 

"That w T here any person shall mark or improve land or 
lands, with intent to set up a claim thereto, such person 
shall write or mark in legible characters the initial letters 
of his name at least, together with the day of the month 
and year on which he marked or improved the same, at the 
spring or most notorious part of the land, or some con- 
venient tree or other durable substance, in order to notify 
his intentions to all such as may inquire or examine, and 
in case of dispute with respect to priority of right, proof 
of such transaction shall be made by the oath of some in- 
different witness, or no advantage or benefit shall be de- 
rived from such mark or improvement; and in all cases 
where priority of mark or occupancy cannot be ascertained 
according to the regulations and prescriptions herein pro- 
posed and agreed to, the oldest or first entry in the office 
to be opened in consequence of this Association shall have 
the preference, and the lands granted accordingly. 

"It is further proposed and agreed that the Entry Office 
shall be opened at Nashborough, on Friday, the 19th of 
May, instant, and kept from thenceforward at the same 
place, unless otherwise directed by any future Convention 
of the people in general, or their representatives. 

"That the Entry Taker shall and may demand and re- 
ceive twelve dollars for each entry to be made in his book, 
in manner before directed, and shall give a certificate there- 
of, if required; and also may take the same fees for every 
caveat or counter-claim to any lands before entered ; and 
in all cases where a caveat is to be tried in manner before 
directed, the Entry Book shall be laid before the said Com- 
mittee of Judges, Triers, or General Arbitrators, for their 
inspection and information, and their judgment upon the 
matter in dispute fairly entered as before directed ; which 
said Court or Committee is also to keep a fair and distinct 
journal or minutes of all their proceedings, as well with re- 
spect to lands as other matters which may come before 
them in consequence of these our resolutions. 

"It is also firmly agreed and resolved that no person 
shall be admitted to make an entry for any lands with the 
said Entry Taker, or permitted to hold the same, unless 
such person shall subscribe his name and conform to this 
our Association, Confederacy, and General Government, 
unless it be for persons who have returned home, and are 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 133 

permitted to have lands reserved for their use until the first 
day of May next, in which case entries may be made for 
such absent persons, according to the true meaning of this 
writing, without their personal presence, but shall become 
utterly void, if the particular person or persons for whom 
such entry shall be made should refuse or neglect to perform 
the same as soon as conveniently may be after their return, 
and before the said first day of May in the year 1781. 

"Whereas the frequent and dangerous incursions of the 
Indians, and almost daily massacre of some of our inhabi- 
tants, renders it absolutely necessary, for our safety and 
defense, that due obedience be paid to our respective officers 
elected and to be elected at the several stations or settle- 
ments, to take command of the men or militia at such fort 
or station ; 

"It is further agreed and resolved that when it shall be 
adjudged necessary and expedient by such commanding of- 
ficer to draw out the militia of any fort or station to pur- 
sue or repulse the enemy, the said officer shall have power 
to call out such and so many of his men as he may judge 
necessary, and in case of disobedience may inflict such fine 
as he in his discretion shall think just and reasonable; and 
also may impress the horse or horses of any person or per- 
sons whomsoever, which, if lost or damaged in such service, 
shall be paid for by the inhabitants of such fort or station 
in such manner and such proportion as the Committee here- 
by appointed, or a majority of them, shall direct and order; 
but if any person shall be aggrieved or think himself unjust- 
ly vexed and injured by the fine or fines so imposed by his 
officer or officers, such person may appeal to the said Judges 
or Committee of General Arbitrators, who, or a majority 
of them, shall have power to examine the matter fully, and 
make such order therein as they may think just and rea- 
sonable, which decision shall be conclusive on the party com- 
plaining, as well as the officer or officers inflicting such fine ; 
and the money arising from such fines shall be carefully 
applied for the benefit of such fort or station, in such man- 
ner as the said Arbitrators shall hereafter direct. 

"It is lastly agreed and firmly resolved that a dutiful 
and humble address or petition be presented, by some per- 
son or persons to be chosen by the inhabitants, to the Gen- 
eral Assembly, giving the fullest assurance of the fidelity 
and attachment to the interest of our country, and obedience 
to the laws and constitution thereof. Setting forth that 
we are confident our settlement is not within the boundaries 
of any nation or tribe of Indians, as some of us know and 
all believe that they have fairly sold and received satisfac- 
tion for the land or territories whereon we reside, and there- 

134 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

fore we hope we may not be considered as acting against the 
laws of our country or the mandates of government. 

"That we do not desire to be exempt from the rateable 
share of the public expense of the present war, or other con- 
tingent charges of government. That we are, from our re- 
mote situation, utterly destitute of the benefit of the laws 
of our country, and exposed to the depredations of the In- 
dians, without any justifiable or effectual means of embody- 
ing our militia, or defending ourselves against the hostile 
attempts of our enemy; praying and imploring the imme- 
diate aid and protection of government, by erecting a county 
to include our settlements, appointing proper officers for the 
discharge of public duty, taking into consideration our dis- 
tressed situation with respect to the Indians, and granting 
such relief and assistance as in wisdom, justice and human- 
ity may be thought reasonable. 

"Nashborough, 13th May, 1780." 

Richard Henderson, 
Nathaniel Hart, 
Wm. H. Moore, 
Samuel Phariss, 
John Donelson, C, 
Gasper Mansker, 
John Caffrey, 
John Blakemore, Sr., 
John Blakemore, Jr., 
James Shaw, 
Francis Armstrong, 
Robert Lucas, 
James Robertson, 
George Freland, 
James Freland, 
John Tucker, 
Peter Catron, 
Philip Catron, 
Francis Catron, 
John Dunham, 
Isaac Johnson, 
Adam Kelar, 
Thomas Burgess, 
William Burgess, 
William Green, 
Moses Webb, 
Absalom Thomson, 
Samuel Deson, 
Samuel Martin, 
James Buchanan, 

Samuel Willson, 
John Reid, 
Joseph Dougherty, 
Charles Cameron, 
Isaac Rounsavall, 
James Crockett, 
John Anderson, 
Matthew Anderson, 
Wm. McWhirter, 
Barnet Hainey, 
Richard Sims, 
Titus Murray, 
James Hamilton, 
Henry Dougherty, 
Zach. White, 
Burgess White, 
William Calley, 
James Ray, 
William Ray, 
Perley Grimes, 
Samuel White, 
Daniel Hogan, 
Thomas Hines, 
Robert Goodloe, 
Thomas W. Alston, 
William Barret, 
Thomas Shannon, 
James Moore, 
Richard Moore, 
Samuel Moore, 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 135 

Solomon Turpin, 
Isaac Rentfro, 
Robert Cartwright, 
Hugh Rogan, 
Joseph Morton, 
William Woods, 
David Mitchell, 
Thomas Hendricks, 
John Holladay, 
Frederick Stump (in 

William Hood, 
John Boyd, 
Jacob Stump, 
Henry Hardin, 
Richard Stanton, 
Sampson Sawyers, 
John Hobson, 
Ralph Wilson, 
James Givens, 
James Harrod, 
James Buchanan, Sr., 
William Geioch, 
Samuel Shelton, 
David Shelton, 
Spill Coleman, 
Samuel McMurray, 
P. Henderson, 
Edward Bradley, 
Edward Bradley, Jr., 
James Bradley, 
Michael Stoner, 
Joseph Mosely, 
Henry Guthrie, 
W. Russell, Jr., 
Hugh Simpson, 
Samuel Moore, 
Joseph Denton, 
Arthur McAdoo, 
James McAdoo, 
Nathaniel Henderson, 
John Evans, 
Wm. Bailey Smith, 
Peter Luney, 
John Luney, 
James Cain, 
Daniel Johnson, 

John Cordry, 
Nicholas Tramal, 
Andrew Ewin, 
Ebenezer Titus, 
Mark Robertson, 
John Montgomery, 
Charles Campbell, 
William Overall, 
John Turner, 
Nathaniel Overall, 
Patrick Quigley, 
Josias Gamble, 
Samuel Newell, 
Joseph Read, 
David Maxwell, 
Thomas Jefriss, 
Joseph Dunnagin, 
John Phelps, 
Andrew Bushony, 
Daniel Ragsdell, 
John McMurty, 
D'd. Williams, 
John McAdames, 
Samson Williams, 
Thomas Thompson, 
Martin King, 
William Logan, 
John Alstead, 
Andrew Crocket, 
Russell Gower, 
John Shannon, 
David Shannon, 
Jonathan Drake, 
Benjamin Drake, 
John Drake, 
Mereday Rains, 
Richard D'odge, 
James Green, 
James Cooke, 
Daniel Johnston, 
George Miner, 
George Green, 
William Moore, 
Jacob Cimberlin, 
Robert Dockerty, 
John Crow, 
William Summers, 

136 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Daniel Jarrot, 
Jesse Maxey, 
Noah Hawthorn, 
Charles McCartney, 
John McVay, 
James Thomson, 
Charles Thomson, 
Robert Thomson, 
Martin Hardin, 
Elijah Thomson, 
Andrew Thomson, 
William Seaton, 
Edward Thomelu, 
Isaac Drake, 
Jonathan Jenings, 
Zachariah Green, 
Andrew Lucas, 

James X Patrick, 

Richard Gross, 
John Drake, 
Daniel Turner, 
Timothy Feret, 
Isaac Lefever, 
Thomas Fletcher, 
Samuel Barton, 
James Ray, 
Thomas Denton, 
Elijah Moore, 
John Moore, 
John Gibson, 
Robert Espey, 
George Espey, 
William Gowen, 
John Wilfort, 
James Espey, 
Michael Kimberlin, 
John Cowan, 
Francis Hodge, 
William Fleming, 
James Leper, 
George Leper, 
Daniel Mungle, 
Patrick McCutchen, 
Samuel McCutchen, 
William Price, 

Lesois Frize (?) (some 
name in Dutch hiero- 
glyphics) , 
Amb's. Mauldin, 
Morton Mauldin, 
John Dunham, 
Archelaus Allaway, 
Hayden Wells, 
Daniel Ratletf, 
John Callaway, 
John Pleake, 
Willis Pope, 
Silas Harlan, 
Hugh Leeper, 
Harmon Consellea, 
Hunphrey Hogan, 
James Foster, 
William Morris, 
Nathaniel Bidlack, 
A. Tatom, 

William Hinson, 

Edmund New T ton, 

Jonathan Green, 

John Phillips, 

George Flynn, 

Daniel Jarrott, 

John Owens, 

James Freland, 

Thomas Malloy, 

Isaac Lindsay, 

Isaac Bledsoe, 

Jacob Castleman, 

George Power, 

Nicholas Counrod, 

Evin Evins, 

Jonathan Evins, 

John Thomas, 

Joshua Thomas, 

David Rounsavall, 

Samuel Hayes, 

Isaac Johnson, 

Thomas Edmeston, 

Ezekiel Norris, 

William Purnell, 

William McMurray, 

James Lynn, 

Thomas Cox, 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 137 

Henry Kerbey, Edward Lucas, 

Joseph Jackson, Phillip Alston, 

Daniel Ragsdil, James Russell. 
Michael Shaver, 

This book having to do only with early Tennessee his- 
tory, it will not be expected that we enter upon the de- 
velopment and later career of Tennessee's splendid Capital 
City located upon the banks of the Cumberland. At the 
death of General Jackson, 1845, the limits of this book, 
Nashville was a small municipality of something like 8,000 
population, and, as a municipality alone, could not offer very 
much of interest. But historically it has profound interest 
for all Tennesseans, who are unanimous in their loyal pride 
in the Capital of the State which has become the center of 
the activities of a great church, with great book publishing 
and printing estaplishments, universities and schools and 
a literary and educational development, which entitle it to 
be called the Athens of the South. In 1785 Davidson Acad- 
emy was chartered. The Legislature of the State in 1806 
chartered Cumberland College, which in 1825 became Nash- 
ville University. 

In 1818 the "General Jackson" owned by General Wil- 
liam Carroll and built at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, was the 
first steamboat to go to Nashville. The trip from New Or- 
leans to Nashville by boat at that time took 35 days. 

The first capitol building in which the Legislature met 
in Nashville in 1812 was on Broad Street nearly opposite 
the present Post Office, and a post office was opened in the 
city on April 1, 1796, with Capt. John Gordon as post mas- 

Nashville has been the witness of as many great his- 
torical and intellectual contests as any city of the South. 
Tennessee has no reason to be ashamed of its early orators, 
statesmen, leaders and educators, very many of whom con- 
ducted their activities in the Capital City. It was early 
selected as the permanent Capital of the State, and became 
the site of the State government, and this brought to it in- 
fluences, visitors, movements, and powers, that would not 
otherwise have come, and which have entered so largely into 
that development which has made the city so fixed in the 
affections of the people of Tennessee. 

138 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 



The combat between the pioneers of Tennessee and the 
Cherokees was bold and bitter and bloody on both sides, 
and the white man finally conquered. It is of interest to 
Tennesseans, therefore, to know something of this tribe that 
caused their ancestors so much toil and exposure, anguish 
and death, and who finally, through the persistent policy 
of Andrew Jackson, a Tennessean, took up their march to- 
ward the West, where they now are. 

Unlike many other tribes of American Indians, the 
Cherokees seemed to prefer a mountain country, and they 
were the mountaineers of the South, and at one time claimed 
ownership of more than one hundred thousand square miles 
which covered all of Kentucky, all of Tennessee except West 
Tennessee, large portions of North Alabama and North 
Georgia almost as far down as Atlanta, one-half or more of 
South Carolina, and the mountain section of North Carolina. 
This territory constituted the original claim of the Chero- 

When their final cession was made and they transferred 
all of their holdings to the United States government, their 
territory consisted of lower East Tennessee, beginning at 
Fort Loudon, about one-half of the northern third of Geor- 
gia, and a small triangle in north-east Alabama. In the 
days of their greatest power their principal towns were 
along the headwaters of the Savannah, Hiwassee, Tuckase- 
gee and a large part of the Little Tennessee. The latter 
river rises in a spring in North Carolina, breaks through 
the Smoky Mountains into Tennessee and empties into the 
Tennessee river at Lenoir City, Loudon County, on the line 
of the Southern Railway. Telassee was the last Indian town 
going up the river before getting to the mountains, and it 
is the site of the present town of Alcoa, in Blount County, 
Tennessee, where is located the plant of the Knoxville Power 


3 c 

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. OS 

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5 5 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 139 

The crest of the Smoky Mountains is the boundary line 
between North Carolina and Tennessee and is five thousand 
feet high and above the timber line. It has peaks 6,000 feet 
high, and one, Clingman's Dome in North Carolina, 6,619 
feet. This range is the boundary of the Cherokee Na- 
tion in Tennessee, and with it the Cherokees were famil- 
iar in all their history, and in it, around it, and about it, 
were perfectly at home. Beginning with this range, they 
lived along the full length of the Little Tennessee. We are 
justified in thinking that the God whom the Hebrews of old 
said made the world in six days, must have intended that the 
Smoky Mountains and the Little Tennessee River should be 
considered twin master-pieces of His handiwork. Con- 
nected with no other mountain range in the world is the ele- 
ment of mystery so pronounced as with the Smoky Range — 
none so impress the beholder with awe and solemnity. We 
look upon their vast domes and majestic heights and wonder 
how they came about, and when, and how it was possible 
that the Little Tennessee cleft the range in twain, and 
plowed its way from its initial spring in North Carolina, 
through Blount, Monroe and Loudon Counties, to its junction 
with the Tennessee River. In the combat between the 
mountains and the river — in the struggle of the water to 
pierce the towering land — there must have been a warfare 
of countless ages, when the river at last came off conqueror 
and broke through. Yet how impotent the river looks com- 
pared With these vast mountains ! As we stand and gaze upon 
them, the Smokies seem to look down in everlasting silence, 
as if extending a speechless benediction upon the beautiful 
river as it wanders along beneath the cold white glory of the 
East Tennessee stars, with the sheen and glimmer of its 
waves reflecting the grandeur of the mountains and land- 
scape, and the splendors of a beautiful land. When dusk 
comes, the Smokies seem so vast, so mysterious, so passing 
understanding, so typical of infinity, so inscrutable in mean- 
ing, with their peaks and crags and towering heights! 
Who can wonder that the solemn mountains were selected 
as the place where the Law written upon tablets of stone 
was handed to Moses! Dread and tireless sentinels telling 
of Omnipotence and the Infinite, mysterious as life's fathom- 

140 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

less mystery ! In pondering the Smokies we can but recall 
Coleridge's "Hymn Before Sunrise in the Valley of Cha- 

mouni :" 

"But thou, most awful Form! 
Risest from forth thy silent sea of pines, 
How silently! Around thee and above 
Deep is the air and dark, substantial, black, 
An ebon mass ; methinks thou piercest it 
As with a wedge! But when I look again 
It is thine own calm home, thy crystal shrine, 
Thy habitation from eternity! 

dread and silent Mount ! I gazed upon thee, 
Till thou, still present to the bodily sense, 

Didst vanish from my thought: entranced in prayer 

1 worshiped the Invisible alone." 

The Twelfth Report of the United States Bureau of Eth- 
nology says: "The valley of the Little Tennessee from 
where it leaves the Smoky Mountains which form the 
boundary between North Carolina and Tennessee to where 
it joins the Tennessee River in Loudon County, is undoubt- 
edly the most interesting archaeological section in the entire 
Appalachian District. The numerous groups of mounds 
and other ancient works which are found along the valleys 
of the principal stream and its tributaries, appear to be in- 
timately related to one another and are evidently the work 
of one people." 

The government excavations along the entire course of 
the Little Tennessee from Telassee to the mouth of the river, 
have opened up mounds which were the burial places for 
the dead, and in which were found, besides Indian bones, 
relics of various kinds illustrating Indian customs; and 
graphic representations, pictures and descriptions of these 
mounds and their contents are published in the Twelfth 
Report referred to. 

Chota, which was on the south bank of the Little Ten- 
nessee, a few miles above the mouth of the Tellico, and be- 
tween twenty and twenty-five miles from where the Little 
Tennessee enters the Tennessee River, was the capital of 
the Cherokee Nation, and also a city of refuge. It was in 
the present Monroe County, Tennessee. Its population is 
not stated by any of the historians who have written about 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 141 

the Cherokees, but the Ethnological Report quoted says the 
evidence about it indicates "a somewhat extensive ancient 
village." Chota being a city of refuge, any person, whether 
white or red, who had committed a wrong against another, 
could take refuge in it and be safe from attack, but this 
exemption did not continue after leaving Chota. 

The author was born on the Little Tennessee River, five 
miles from Chota, and ten miles from Fort Loudon, and he 
naturally thinks the Little Tennessee a gem among rivers, 
a very queen among waters. It glides like a stream of sil- 
ver towards the sea from its home beyond the Smokies, 
and by the magic of its moist touch has carried gladness 
to the land through centuries without number. It does not 
count the years in its travels, it cannot gauge its measure- 
less beneficence, and is mute in its ever-varying panorama 
of hills and meadows, lofty crags and blooming fields, glo- 
rious landscapes and scenic splendor. In the long ago it 
caught the eye of the stalwart Cherokee and enamored him 
with its charms, folded him to its bosom, and held him as 
a devotee on its banks for ages; and he, like his ancestry 
before him, swore by the Great Spirit that as long as life 
was in him and he could meet a foe on the battlefield, should 
mortal power drive him from its sparkling waters. Along 
these waters the daily life of the Cherokee was exhibited at 
its best. 

Whence the Cherokee came, and when, no voice tells 
us. All we know is that sometime in the long misty past, 
he came to this beautiful river, claimed it as his own, and in 
defense of his habitation along by it, he challenged John 
Sevier to mortal combat on many a bloody field ; and never, 
until 1838, when he voluntarily left it, was he so crushed 
that he quailed to offer the gage of battle to Sevier again. 

Ferdinand DeSoto made his way in 1540 from the Atlan- 
tic Seaboard through Northern Georgia, Alabama and Miss- 
issippi, and probably touched Tennessee at the southwest 
corner of the State, where he discovered the Mississippi 
River. The historians and archaeologists agree that the 
"Chelaques" mentioned by the chroniclers of DeSoto's ex- 
pedition were the Cherokees, and since 1540 it is practically 
certain that no tribe has ever occupied the Appalachian re- 

142 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

gion except the Cherokees ; and, hence, it is also practically 
certain that the Little Tennessee River and the region 
through which it flows, have been their fixed and permanent 
home since 1540 up to the period of their removal by the 
United States government in 1838 — a period of two hundred 
and ninety-eight years — and how much longer is a matter 
of conjecture. 

On November 19, 1761, a treaty was concluded at the end 
of a bitter war between the whites and the Cherokees at 
Great Island in the Holston River, also called Long 
Island, at the present town of Kingsport, and upon the re- 
quest of the Cherokee chief that an officer might be sent to 
the Cherokee country to cement the friendship between the 
two races, Lieutenant Henry Timberlake, a young Virginian 
in the military service, volunteered to return with the Chero- 
kees to their towns, and to spend several months there. He 
afterwards accompanied a delegation of Cherokees to Eng- 
land, where they were not received by the government, as 
they had not come by the authority of the United States 
government, so they returned home. Lieut. Timberlake 
published his Memoirs in London, and a part of them was 
the map in this volume which is an exact copy of the orig- 
inal, and enumerates the different Indian towns and their 
strength in warriors and the chiefs. Lieut. Timberlake's 
residence among the Cherokees extended over into the year 

Upon the map the bottom is in the direction of the mouth 
of the river where it empties into the Tennessee at Lenoir 
City, and the top at the town marked "Telassee" is in the 
direction of the Smoky Mountains, the dividing line between 
North Carolina and Tennessee, and is the last Indian town 
before getting to the mountains, and is the site of Alcoa, as 
above mentioned. This map is absolutely authentic, and 
is republished from Lieut. Timberlake's Memoirs by the 
United States government in the Twelfth Ethnological Re- 
port. The present village of Morganton is south of Great 
Island, and between Great Island and Telassee will be found 
on the map Fort Loudon, Chota, and various other Indian 


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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 143 


The treaty of New Echota was negotiated and agreed 
upon between the United States and the Cherokees at New 
Echota, Georgia, in December, 1835, and was ratified by the 
United States Senate by a majority of one on May 23, 1836. 
The treaty gave rise to a bitter contention between the white 
friends of the Cherokees and the champions of the Treaty, 
and the debate in the United States Senate was a very bit- 
ter and acrimonious one. This treaty was so far-reaching 
in its results to the United States, the State of Georgia, the 
Cherokee Indians, and the general Indian policy of the gov- 
ernment, that it deserves full consideration. It became a 
burning issue in the politics of the day. and charges and 
counter-charges were freely made by the rival disputants. It 
may be well to give some of its leading provisions : 

First, the land ceded by the Cherokees to the United 
States was about ten million acres, for which the govern- 
ment was to pay five million dollars. 

Second, for five hundred thousand dollars the United 
States was to convey in fee simple eight hundred thousand 
acres of land between the west lines of the State of Missouri 
and the Osage country to the Cherokees. 

Third, the lands ceded to the Cherokees were at no fu- 
ture time without their consent to be included within the 
territorial limits or jurisdiction of any State or Territory 
of the United States. 

Fourth, all laws and regulations made by the Cherokees 
for their own government were to be valid, except such as 
were inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States. 

Fifth, peace and friendship was to maintain between 
the United States and the Cherokees, and the latter were 
not to make war upon their neighbors, and they were to be 
protected by the United States from trespass by citizens of 
the United States. 

Sixth, the Cherokees were to be entitled to a delegate 
in the House of Representatives whenever Congress should 
make a provision for the same. 

Seventh, the United States was to remove the Cherokees 
to their new home in the West and to provide subsistence 
for one year. 

144 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Eighth, the United States was to pay for the improve- 
ments made by the Cherokees in the land they were selling 
to the government. 

Ninth, the United States was to give two hundred thous- 
and dollars, the interest of which was to go for the benefit 
of the orphan and permanent school fund of the Cherokees. 

Tenth, the Cherokees who had fought for the United 
States were to be pensioned. 

Eleventh, the Cherokees were to remove West within 
two years. 

There were other provisions in the treaty, but the 
stipulations set out give a fair idea of the treaty as a whole. 

On December 29th, 1835, a supplement to the treaty 
was adopted with three provisions: 

First, all pre-emption rights and reservations of arti- 
cles twelve and thirteen of the original treaty were to be 
null and void. 

Second, the Senate was to vote additional money to the 
Cherokees if that body understood that the five million dol- 
lars given for the land was to include moving expenses. 

Third, for moving expenses and in the place of reserva- 
tions and exemptions and of the sum of one hundred thous- 
and dollars provided in article one of the treaty for spoli- 
ations, the Senate was to appropriate six hundred thousand 

The reader will be interested to peruse the description 
by George Bancroft in his History of the United States of 
the country which the United States bought by this treaty 
from the Cherokees, and which that tribe had occupied as 
supreme master for so many long years. This is the de- 
scription Bancroft gives: 

"The mountaineers of aboriginal America were the 
Cherokees, who occupied the valley of the Tennessee River 
as far West as the Muscle Shoals and the highlands of Caro- 
lina, Georgia and Alabama, the most picturesque and salu- 
brious region east of the Mississippi. Their homes are en- 
circled by blue hills rising beyond hills, of which the lofty 
peaks would kindle with the early light and the overshadow- 
ing night envelop the valleys like a mass of clouds. There 
the rocky cliffs rising in naked grandeur defy the lightning 
and mock the loudest peals of the thunderstorm; .there the 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 145 

gentle slopes are covered with magnolias and flowering for- 
est trees, decorated with roving climbers, and ring with the 
perpetual note of the whip-poor-will; there the wholesome 
water gushes profusely from the earth in transparent 
springs; snow-white cascades glitter on the hillsides; and 
the rivers, shallow, but pleasant to the eye, rush through 
the narrow vales which the abundant strawberry crimsons 
and the coppices of rhododendron and flaming azalea adorn. 
.... The fertile soil teems with luxuriant herbiage on 
which the roebuck fattens ; the vivifying breeze is laden with 
fragrance ; and daybreak is ever welcomed by the shrill 
cries of the social night-hawk and the liquid carols of the 


In the contest between our pioneer- ancestors and the 
red man our sympathies, of course, go with the men of white 
faces, but that does not prevent us from also feeling sympa- 
thy for the Cherokees when in 1838-1839 they took up their 
last march from their ancestral homes to the western coun- 
try across the Mississippi River. They had relinquished 
their claim to the United States government, and the time 
of their removal had come. Under the orders of General 
Winfield Scott, United States troops were placed at various 
points in the Cherokee country, and stockade forts were 
erected for holding the Indians after they were collected, 
and preparatory to their last journey toward the setting 
sun. Soldiers were sent into cabins and coves of the moun- 
tains everywhere an Indian might be concealed, and 
they were brought to the stockades. In North Carolina 
there were stockades in Swain County, Macon County, Gra- 
ham County, Clay County, Cherokee County, and Murphy 
County. In Georgia, in Lumpkin County, Gilmer County, 
Murray County, Pickens County, and Cherokee County. In 
Tennessee at the present town of Calhoun, on the Hiwassee 
River, and the Southern Railway, in McMinn County. In 
Alabama in Cherokee County. 

Nearly seventeen thousand Cherokees were gathered into 
these various stockades, and in June, 1838, about five thous- 
and of them were brought to Calhoun, Tennessee, to 
Ross's Landing, now Chattanooga, Tennessee, and to Gun- 
ter's Landing, now Guntersville, Alabama, where they were 
put upon steamboats, and sent down the Tennessee River 

146 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

to the Ohio and thence to the West side of the Mississippi, 
when the journey was continued by land into the Indian 
Territory. This removal was in the hot part of the year, 
and great sickness and mortality ensued among the Indians, 
so much so that their chief submitted to General Scott a 
proposition that the balance of the Cherokees be allowed to 
move themselves in the fall when weather conditions were 
more favorable. General Scott agreed to this proposition, 
provided all of the Cherokees should have started on their 
journey to the west by October 20, 1838, except the sick and 
the old people who could not move so rapidly. The Chero- 
kees proceeded to organize for their self -removal, and were 
cut up into divisions of one thousand each, and there were 
two leaders in charge of each division, with wagons and 
horses for their use. This removal aggregated about thir- 
teen thousand people, including negro slaves. They started 
on their last march in October, 1838. They had assembled 
at what is now Charleston, in Tennessee on the Southern 
Railway, which is across the river from Calhoun, and a few 
of them went by the river route from Charleston, but nearly 
all of the thirteen thousand went by land. They had six 
hundred and forty-five wagons. The sick, old people, small 
children, their clothing, blankets, cooking utensils, were in 
the wagons, the rest were on foot or horseback. The Ten- 
nessee river was crossed at the mouth of the Hiwassee, and 
the route then lay south of Pikeville, through McMinnville, 
and on to Nashville on the Cumberland River; thence to 
Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The Ohio River was crossed near 
the mouth of the Cumberland ; and thence on through South- 
ern Illinois until the Mississippi was reached. The weather 
was bitterly cold when they reached the Mississippi, and 
many of them died. The river was crossed at Cape Girar- 
deau and at Green's Ferry, and thence the march was 
through Missouri and into the Indian Territory. They 
marched in two detachments. They left Tennessee in Octo- 
ber, 1838, and reached their destination in March, 1839, 
covering a period of nearly six months in the worst weather 
of the year. The number who died on this removal was 
given in the official figures as sixteen hundred ; the per cent 
of the five thousand who went under military escort was 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 147 

larger, we are justified in believing, from the fact that the 
Cherokees themselves made the proposition that they would 
conduct their own removal rather than be conducted by the 
United States officers, and they lived up to their agreement. 
A great many died in the stockades before starting on their 
journey, and James Mooney, in his work, "Myths of the 
Cherokees," published by the United States Government as 
the Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, 
estimates that four thousand died altogether as the direct 
result of the removal. On getting to the Indian Territory, 
they started to build houses and plant crops. The United 
States government had agreed to furnish them with subsist- 
ence for one year after their arrival. 

Mooney in his "Myths of the Cherokees" relates this in- 

"Just inside the Tennessee line where the Conasauga 
River bends again into Georgia is a stone-walled grave with 
a marble slab on which is an epitaph w T hich tells its own 
story of the Removal heartbreak. McNair was a white man 
prominent in the Cherokee Nation whose wife was the 
daughter of the Chief Vann, who welcomed the Moravian 
missionaries and gave his own house for their use. The 
date shows that she died while the removal was in progress, 
possibly while waiting in the stockade camp. The inscrip- 
tion with details is given from information kindly furnished 
bv Mr. D. K. Dunn of Conasauga, Tennessee, in a letter dated 
August 16, 1890 : 

" 'Sacred to the memory of David and Delilah A. McNair, 
who departed this life, the former, on the 15th of August, 
1836, and the latter on the 30th of November, 1838. Their 
children being members of the Cherokee Nation, and having 
to go with their people to the West do leave this monument 
not only to show their regard for their parents, but to 
guard their sacred ashes against the unhallowed intrusion 
of the white man.' " 

The removal of the Indians from East Tennessee w r as 
entrusted by the United States government to the Honorable 
Luke Lea as Indian Agent. Mr. Lea was one of the leaders 
in our early history, and was born in 1792 and died in 1851. 
His family has made history in Tennessee. He grew up 
near Knoxville, served as a soldier in the Indian wars, and 
for many years was cashier of the old State Bank at Knox- 

148 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

ville. When Jackson was in the midst of his difficulties on 
his way to fight the Creek Indians, Judge Hugh Lawson 
White, Luke Lea and Thomas L. Williams, started from 
Knoxville for his encampment to see if they could render 
him any aid. This was a long and perilous journey through 
the wilderness, but it was successfully accomplished. They 
reached the East Tennessee troops at Fort Armstrong on 
the Coosa River November 13, 1812, and from there pro- 
ceeded on the morning of November 14, and reached Gen- 
eral Jackson's encampment on the 18th at twelve o'clock. 
The result of this trip was that Colonel John Williams, com- 
mander of the thirty-ninth regiment of the regular army, 
and a brother-in-law of Judge White, was persuaded by 
Judge White to go to Jackson's rescue. 

This journey of Judge White, Mr. Lea and Congressman 
Williams has never received from the writers on Tennessee 
history any consideration except the mere statement of the 
fact that it was undertaken; and by this neglect gross in- 
jusice has been done to three East Tennesseans who per- 
formed an extraordinary and very perilous and patriotic 
duty. Between Knoxville and Fort Armstrong was a wil- 
derness at that time infested by the Cherokees and the 
Chickamaugas, two of the bloodiest and most relentless of 
all Indian tribes. The object of the trip was one of patriot- 
ism only, namely, to see if aid could be rendered General 
Jackson. The distance was probably one hundred and fifty 
miles, and the result of the trip was to procure the sending 
of the 39th regiment to Jackson's aid, which led the assault 
on the stockade at the battle of the Horseshoe. A trip of 
similar danger taken today would be heralded as a feat of 
heroic courage. 

A similar feat of personal daring was when Captain 
John Gordon of the Spies was sent by General Jackson from 
Fort Strother with a letter to Maurequez, the Governor of 
Pensacola, Florida. Captain Gordon started on this hazard- 
ous trip with one companion, who, for some reason, turned 
back, but the Captain who is designated by Parton in his 
"Life of Jackson" as "the famous and eccentric spy captain 
of the Creek war," proceeded on the journey alone to Pen- 
sacola, delivered Jackson's letter to Governor Maurequez, 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 149 

had an interview with that Spanish dignitary, and returned 
alone to Jackson, at Fort Strother. Verily, those were he- 
roic days in Tennessee ! Would that some Homer might be 
born to sing of them, or some Chaucer to write, not another 
Canterbury Tales, but of the journey of the three East Ten- 
nesseans to the aid of General Jackson, and of the Scotch 
Gordon to bear the letter to Governor Maurequez ! 

In 1833 Mr. Lea was elected Member of Congress from 
the Knoxville District; next, he was land agent for East 
Tennessee, and Secretary of the State of Tennessee 1835- 

At one time he is said to have had in his possession as 
Indian Agent over $300,000.00 to settle Indian claims at the 
time of the removal, and that this money was kept in an iron 
safe at Athens, Tenn. 

He was thrown from his horse and killed near Independ- 
ence, Missouri, where he had gone as Special Indian Com- 
missioner, by appointment of President Filmore. 

Captain Henry B. Henegar, deceased, whose home was 
at Charleston, Tennessee, where he passed the greater part 
of a very useful life, and who left an honorable name behind 
him, as a young man of about twenty-four years accompa- 
nied the Removal which started at Charleston in October, 
1838. He was requested by a correspondent at Frankfort, 
Kentucky, to give him an account of the route and trip to 
the Indian Territory and Captain Henegar replied on Octo- 
ber 25, 1897. The original of the reply is now in the pos- 
session of his daughter, Mrs. W. B. Allen, of Dayton, Ten- 


"Charleston, Bradley County, Tenn., on the Hiwassee 
River, was the starting point and the place where the Ross 
party was collected. Gen. Scott was stationed here with the 
U. S. troops. The spot where my residence now stands was 
the barracks. The regular soldiers were assisted by several 
companies of militia but not much difficulty was encountered 
in collecting them as John Ross' influence was so great that 
they came in at his request, he having effected a liberal com- 
promise with the government, the Indians being well paid 
for all they possessed. John Ross took the contract for 
their removal, which he afterwards let to Lewis Ross, who 
was a better business man. There were supposed to be 

150 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

10,000 Indians that went from here. They were divided into 
detachments of 1,000 each; I belonged to the Q. M. depart- 
ment of the eighth, called Taylor's detachment, assisted 
Red Watt Adair. The first detachment started from here 
in October, 1838. There were some five or six days' differ- 
ence between the start of the different detachments. I 
left Nov. 10. The Indians all went the same route. We 
crossed the Tennessee at the mouth of the Hiwassee at 
Blythe's ferry; went across Walden's Ridge to Pikeville ; 
thence to McMinnville; thence over to Nashville. After 
crossing the river there we went to Hopkinsville, Ky., 
crossed the Ohio River at Golconda ; thence through South- 
ern Illinois to Green's ferry on the Mississippi River. 
Our detachment was stopped twenty miles from the river 
at Gore's encampment for those ahead to get across the 
Mississippi. After the way was open we went on to the 
river and commenced to cross and were detained over three 
weeks, I having charge of those left on the east side. After 
that we continued our journey through Southern Missouri 
by way of Springfield ; thence to Fayetteville, Ark. ; thence 
to the nation, arriving at Park Hill, where John Ross had 
located himself, on March 25, 1839. The various detach- 
ments disbanded when we reached the nation, and went to 
different localities. John Ross retained me in his employ 
to sell off the public property. We took his family and 
others out by water, having purchased a steamboat for that 
purpose. They started from Chattanooga, then called Ross' 
Landing. His wife died on the way out and was buried at 
Little Rock, Ark. He was kindly received by the old settlers 
— that is, the Cherokees who had gone out some years pre- 
vious, but not by the Ridge party. It was agreed on by the 
old settlers and Ross' party that they should go into council 
on the first of June at Double Springs, now Talequah, the 
capital, and that old lines should be wiped out, and elect 
new officers by the people and form a new constitution. 
They met in council as agreed upon, but the old settlers 
backed out and wanted the Ross party to come under them. 
This aroused the old grudge between the Ridge and Ross 
parties, as the latter felt that the former had interfered 
with the old settlers and had used their influence against 
them. After remaining in ten or twelve days Ross came 
home without accomplishing anything. Two days later 
news came from the mission, a mile away, where Bbudinot 
lived, that he had been killed. Mr. Ross sent men to ascer- 
tain the facts in the case. They found him dead, lying be- 
tween the mission and a new house he was having erected. 
Boudinot had charge of the public medicines. That morn- 
ing three Indians called for medicine, and he started for the 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 1 5 1 

new house to get it for them. His wife stated that two 
walked with him and one dropped behind and struck him in 

the head with a , killing him instantly. Mrs. 

Boudinot was a white woman and a most excellent lady. 
She directed Ross' men to hurry back and tell him he had 
best go to the fort for protection as Standwady, Boudinot's 
half-brother, was gone to Flint to get Jack and Sam Bell to 
raise a company to come and kill Ross for revenge, as she 
did not want any further bloodshed. As custodian of pub-, 
lie property he felt he could not go to the fort but requested 
Tom Clark, his principal clerk, to write to Gen. Arbuckle, 
who was in command at Fort Gibson, to send troops for his 
protection. The clerk was so excited he could not write. 
He then directed another; he also failed in the attempt. 
He himself then wrote it and turning around said, 'Who 
will take this?' No one replied, and turning to me he said, 
'Henegar, will you?' I answered that I would. He then 
directed me to go to the lot and get the best mule or horse 
there and get back as soon as I could. I left at 1 o'clock; 
it was twenty miles to the fort. I struck a gallop and kept 
it up most of the way. I delivered the letter to Gen. Ar- 
buckle. He said Tell Ross I cannot send troops there but 
if he will come here I will protect him.' I again struck a 
gallop and when about half way back the mule I was riding 
fell down from exhaustion. I pulled the saddle from him 
and went to a home close by. There I procured a horse and 
continued my journey, reaching P. H. at 5 o'clock. When 
I got there about fifty armed Indians had arrived to protect 
Ross. By the next morning there were two hundred on the 
ground. That morning Standwady, Jack and Sam Bell, with 
their party, came in sight on the prairie, but finding he was 
outnumbered turned and went around to the mission. We 
afterwards learned they went in the direction of the fort. 
By the next day there were 600 of Ross' friends there armed. 
To them Ross made a speech and said, 'All in favor of pur- 
suing them make it known.' They all gave a grunt and 
mounted their horses in pursuit. The Bell party having 
gone into fort no trouble ensued. 

"In the meantime it was ascertained that two other 
signers of the treaty had been killed the same morning in 
accordance with a secret understanding. Jack Bell was the 
only signer of the treaty that escaped, he being absent from 
home. Jack Walker was mortally wounded near his home, 
eight miles from this place, a few days after the treaty was 
signed. It was claimed by the Ross party that they had 
traded away their land without due authority, and it was a 
law of the general council if any man or set of men should 
trade away their country without being authorized, that 

152 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

they should be killed at any time or place they should be 
found. Jack Walker was an educated man. His wife was 
Miss Emily Meigs, a granddaughter of Return J. Meigs, 
of Revolutionary fame. All the signers of the treaty were 
men of education and considerable wealth. Boudinot, in 
particular, was a man of high attainments and generally 
beloved. The impression is abroad that Ross was an over- 
bearing and unscrupulous man. I was in his employ for 
fifteen months and at all times found him to be an honorable, 
upright man. I am firmly of the opinion he had nothing to 
do with the putting to death of the signers of the treaty. 
I overheard Sam Houston say that John Ross was as great 
a statesman as John C. Calhoun, Daniel Webster or Henry 
Clay. He had been thrown with him at Washington and 
in their younger days at this place (meaning Charleston) ." 


Everything connected with the removal of the Indians 
to the west of the Mississippi, whether the great Removal 
of 1838, or those of earlier dates, is interesting to the people 
of Tennessee who fought so hard to plant the white man's 
civilization in this State; and a statement of William E. 
Pope in his "Early Days in Arkansas" illustrates in a very 
graphic way the passage of Indians through Arkansas. His 
statement is as follows : "About the first of November 
1832, shortly after my arrival in Arkansas, there passed 
through Little Rock six or seven thousand Choctaws and 
Chickasaw Indians from north Mississippi and west Tennes- 
see, on their way to their new homes in the Indian Territory. 
The presence of this vast body of Indians with their house- 
hold goods, cattle and ponies, made a sight never to be for- 
gotten. These Indians were attended by several United 
States officers and surgeons. Two days before they reached 
Little Rock an officer arrived in town and warned the citi- 
zens of the thieving propensities of the lower class of the 
Indians, and advised them to close their stores and dwell- 
ings while they were passing through. With all the dili- 
gence that could be displayed, many articles of the utmost 
uselessness to the Indians disappeared from the yards of 
private residences. This body of Indians was several days 
in crossing the river, although hurried out of town as rap- 
idly as possible. They had a great desire to loiter and spy 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 153 

around and had to be driven almost like sheep. Most of the 
males wore only the breech-cloth, leggings and moccasins, 
the latter profusely ornamented with variously colored beads 
and porcupine quills. They were, for the most part, a fine 
looking body of men. The women rode ponies, manwise, 
and had their papooses slung in the blankets on their backs. 
These two tribes were attended by their principal chiefs, 
Pittman Colbert and Greenwood Laflore, a French-Choctaw 
halfbreecl. These men were well educated and had consid- 
erable refinement. They were very wealthy and traveled 
in great style and comfort, had large roomy carriages and 
numerous baggage wagons, and large numbers of negro 
slaves. Their state and authority resembled that of the 
patriarchs of old. * * * The spring of 1833 witnessed the 
arrival of another large body of Indians bound for the na- 
tion. These Indians were dreadfully scourged by the rav- 
ages of cholera, which invaded their ranks when they 
reached the Mississippi River at Memphis. Large num- 
bers of them died on the march. It was said that their route 
westward from the Mississippi was strewn thick with 


Civilization when it first dared to raise its head in Ten- 
nessee, was to be baptized in a sea of blood, and crushed 
with horrors, murders, death, and assassinations as cold as 
the ice of the farthest North. 

England was the first country to plant its flag in Tennes- 
see, and hoist it flying in the breeze from a fort where Eng- 
lish soldiers were to protect the frontiers, and give the white 
man his first standing room in the wilderness. England 
planted a white oasis in this trackless wilderness, which was 
a gleam of white in the midst of a savagery of red, one little 
spot set down by the long arm of British power upon which 
to base the conquest of the imperial Mississippi Valley. 
This oasis w T as called "Fort Loudon," established in 1756, 
and captured and destroyed by the Indians in 1760. Both at 
the time of the building of the fort and its destruction, there 
was not a white man living elsewhere on the soil of the fu- 
ture commonwealth of Tennessee. 

The sad story of Fort Loudon illustrates all the heroic 

154 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

and splendid in the character and courage of the white man ; 
also all the bloodiest and worst in the character and courage 
of the savage Indians. 

In fancy we can see the lives of the soldiers and the 
settlers about the fort who came to it for protection. We 
can almost feel the daily dread that they felt of horrible 
things that might happen at any time. We can, in fancy, 
depict the lonely existence, the deprivation of those comforts 
which make life tolerable, the isolation, the awful silence 
in the vast primeval forests. We conclude, when we think 
of these things, that heroism never mounted to loftier 
heights, and that the civilization of the white man never 
had champions upon whom it could more absolutely rely. 
It was a life and death struggle between two races, and the 
red man triumphed, and the fort was destroyed, and men, 
women and children were massacred. One of the bloodiest 
pages in all the tide of time was then and there written. 

Friday morning, November 9, 1917, the Tennessee So- 
ciety of Colonial Dames unveiled a marker at Fort Loudon 
with impressive exercises. Mrs. James H. Kirkland of 
Nashville, President of the Tennessee Society, presided, and 
there were a number of features of interest on the program. 
The historical address was made by President John H. De- 
Witt of the Tennessee Historical Society. The marker is 
of Tennessee stone, containing the inscription : 

"Fort Loudon constructed by the English in 1756 to help 
win the Valley of the Mississippi. Captured by the Indians 
under French influence in 1760." 

J. C. Anderson, owner of the site of Fort Loudon, do- 
nated land one hundred feet square for the marker. 

The address of Mr. DeWitt is too long to be reproduced 
in full. The following are extracts from it: 

"One hundred and fifty-seven years ago there was en- 
acted upon this beautiful spot a tragic drama which termi- 
nated the first attempt at permanent occupation by the white 
people in Tennessee. 

"The dramatic background may best be described by 
showing that here beside these beautiful streams and majes- 
tic mountains lived the Overhill Cherokees. One-half mile 
above the spot where we stand was the town of Toskegee. 
About two miles further on the same side was the Indian 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 155 

town of Tomatley, at the mouth of Ball Play creek. About 
fifteen miles above was the town of Tennessee. About two 
miles above Tennessee was Chote. About two miles above 
Chote was Settacoo. About two miles above Settacoo was 
Halfway Town. About two miles above Halfway Town 
was Chalhowey. About five miles above Chalhowey, on 
both banks of the Little Tennessee, was the town of 

"Among these mountains, where the chain of the Alle- 
ghanies and Blue Ridge meet, the Cherokees, a brave, sturdy 
tribe of Indians, lived. Southeast of their villages were the 
headwaters of the Savannah River, and down those of the 
Little Tennessee was the Cherokee path leading southeast- 
erly to Charleston and the Atlantic Seaboard. They had 
two other highways, one down their river and up the Emory, 
then down the South Fork of the Cumberland into the 
'Bloody Ground' — the other leading from Chote into Vir- 
ginia, passing some six miles to the south of Knoxville, 
crossing the Holston at the islands near Underdown's Ferry, 
and extending as far as Richmond, Va. These two were 
called war paths. 

"Southwesterly among the fastnesses around Lookout 
Mountain lived the Chickamaugas, and upon the streams and 
along the villages running from here to the great bend of 
the Tennessee River, there was easy and frequent communi- 
cation with these Indians. So they lived for more than a 
century in this condition of seclusion from the white man." 


"In 1756 Fort Prince George was built on the land of 
the Catawbas, near Keowee, by Gov. Glenn of South Caro- 

"In that same year after laborious preparations and in 
consequence of donations by Prince George himself, and 
by the colonies of Virginia and South Carolina, Fort Loudon 
was erected here on the southern bank of the Tennessee 
River in what is now Monroe County, near the point where 
the Tellico river runs into the Little Tennessee, more than 
thirty miles southwest of Knoxville. It was built by Gen- 
eral Andrew Lewis, the chief engineer of the British troops, 
under the direction of the Earl of Loudon. This was the 
first Anglo-American settlement in Tennessee, and its ro- 
mantic and melancholy story is an introduction to the his- 
tory of Tennessee. 

"The expedition consisted of one hundred regular sol- 
diers of the king and one hundred provincial troops, to- 

156 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

gether with about forty artisans, mechanics and farmers, 
and they carried some two score horses and a number of 
hunting dogs. The commander of the expedition was the 
celebrated James Stuart, who had been foremost in defense 
of the colonies against Indian raids and Negro uprisings; 
but on account of some differences with the civil authorities 
he was ranked by Capt. Demere, who though he had a French 
name was a sturdy Scotchman. 

"On this rocky ledge, jutting upon the river, overlooking 
these deep waters bending around it, Fort Loudon was 
erected. The ridge was cleared of heavy timber within the 
enclosure and as far away as a rifle shot beyond. A deep 
ditch was dug across the ridge, extending out across the 
plain and thence to the river, including about two and a half 
acres of ground. Within the enclosure a well was dug and 
walled up. The fort was securely built of heavy logs, 
square in shape, with blockhouses and bastions connected 
by palisades, which were trunks of trees embedded in the 
earth touching each other, and sharpened at the top, with 
loopholes at the proper places. It was made so secure that 
with ample provisions any garrison could endure a long 
siege by many times their number. Ten cannon and two 
guns called coehorns, said to have been contributed as the 
result of a donation out of the private purse of Prince 
George, were mounted upon the ramparts, or platforms. 
These cannon were probably brought over the mountain on 
packhorses, as no wagon road had ever been cut through that 
wilderness. Here, five hundred miles from Charleston, in 
a place to which it was very difficult at all times, but in case 
of war with the Cherokees, utterly impracticable, to convey 
necessary supplies, the garrison was placed, and the Indians 
invited to the fort. A thriving settlement grew around the 
fort with the arrival of traders and hunters. They began 
to cultivate the land. This was the first cultivation of land 
in what is now Tennessee, and the field around this spot is 
the oldest land in point of cultivation in our State. 

"Thus they lived and maintained this lone outpost until 
signs arose of the terrible tragedy which in August, 1760, 
terminated this settlement." 


"It was no wonder that Fort Loudon, this far-projected 
spur of civilization, was the first to notice and suffer from 
the disaffection of the Indians. The soldiers, making incur- 
sions into the woods to procure fresh provisions, were at- 
tacked by them and some of them were killed. Constant 
danger threatened the garrison. The settlers were drawn 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 157 

into the fort. Communication with the settlements across 
the mountains, from which they derived their supplies, was 
cut off. Parties of the young warriors rushed down upon 
the frontier settlements and the work of massacre became 
general along the borders of the Carolinas. * ***** 

"All this time the garrison of Fort Loudon had been be- 
sieged, so that now they were reduced to the dreadful alter- 
native of perishing by hunger or submitting to the mercy 
of the enraged Cherokees. The two hundred miles between 
it and Fort Prince George were so beset with dangers and 
so difficult was it to march an army through the barren wil- 
derness, that no further attempt at relief was made. The 
garrison was near starvation. For a month they lived on 
the flesh of lean horses and dogs and a small supply of Indian 
beans, procured stealthily for them by some friendly Chero- 
kee women. Blockaded and beleaguered night and day by 
the enemy, with starvation staring them in the face, they 
threatened to leave the fort and die, if necessary, by the 
hands of the savages. Then Capt. Stuart, resourceful and 
brave, summoned a council of war. They agreed to ask for 
the best terms possible and leave the fort. Stuart slipped 
down to the consecrated city of Chote, where no Indian 
dared molest him. He obtained terms of capitulation, which 
were : That the garrison of Fort Loudon march out with 
their arms and drums, each soldier having as much powder 
and ball as the officer shall think necessary for the march, 
and all the baggage they choose to carry ; that the garrison 
be permitted to march to Virginia or to Fort Prince George, 
as the commanding officer shall think proper, unmolested ; 
that a number of Indians be appointed to escort them, and 
aid them in hunting for provisions during the inarch ; that 
such soldiers as were lame or disabled by sickness from 
marching be received into the Indian towns and kindly used 
until they recover, and then be allowed to return to Fort 
Prince George ; that the Indians to provide for the garrison 
as many horses as they conveniently can for their march, 
agreeing with the officers and soldiers for payment; that 
the fort, great guns (cannon), powder, ball and spare arms, 
be delivered to the Indians without fraud or further delay, 
on the day appointed for the marching of the troops.' 

"In pursuance of these stipulations, on August 7, 1760, 
the white people, after throwing their cannon into the river, 
with their small arms and ammunition, except what was 
necessary for hunting, broke up the fort and commenced the 
march into the settlements in South Carolina. That day 
they marched fifteen miles toward Fort Prince George. At 
night they encamped near Taligua, an Indian town, where 
their Indian attendants all suspiciously deserted them. A 

158 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

guard was placed around the camp. At break of day the 
treachery was revealed. A soldier came running in and 
told them that he saw a vast number of Indians, armed and 
painted, creeping toward them. They had hardly time to 
form to meet the attack before the savages poured in among 
them a heavy fire, accompanied with hideous yells. The 
thousands of savages were too many for the two scant com- 
panies of half-starved regulars and a motley following of 
settlers with wives and children." 

:fc ^ * * * * * # 4 s 

"The story of old Fort Loudon has naturally been in- 
vested with romantic and melancholy interest. It was the 
first and last capture and surrender of a fort and massa- 
cre of the garrison within the limits of Tennessee. For 
eight years after this destruction there were no settlements 
attempted within this territory. But in 1768, when William 
Bean built his cabin near Boone's creek, he began the contin- 
uous occupation by the white man which developed finally 
into our great commonwealth. It was, after all, the settle- 
ment by a few from Virginia and North Carolina along the 
Watauga, who thought they were in Virginia, that consti- 
tuted the foundation of our present civilization. A long 
line of heroes, statesmen, and sturdy citizens has come from 
the people of those days. 

"The enmities and rivalries which caused the erection 
and then the destruction of Fort Loudon, have long since 
disappeared, and today the glorious descendants of those 
Frenchmen and British are fighting together, shoulder to 
shoulder, and heart to heart, for the sake of democracy in 
Belgium and France." 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 159 






On July 11th, 1795, the territorial government directed 
an enumeration of the population of the territory to ascer- 
tain if it contained the sixty thousand population necessary 
in order for it to become a State, and Governor Blount 
forwarded the result of the election in the shape of a sched- 
ule to President Washington in the city of Washington. 

The following is the schedule : 

"Territory of the U. States of America South of the 
River Ohio. Schedule of the aggregate amount of each de- 
scription of persons, taken agreeably to 'An act providing 
for the enumeration of the inhabitants of the Territory of 
the United States of America south of the River Ohio;' 
passed July 11, 1795. 


a =.s 
21 » . 


E 2 




£ °> 

v 2 





ree whi 
years a 

• 3 m ci 














Jefferson County 

Hawkins County 

Greene County 

Knox County 

Washington County 

Sullivan County 

Sevier County 

Blount County 

Davidson County. . 

Sumner County 

Tennessee County.- 



























































"I William Blount, Governor in and over the Territory 
of the United States of America south of the River Ohio, 
do certify that this schedule is made in conformity with the 

160 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

schedules of the sheriffs of the respective counties in the 
said Territory, and that the schedules of the said sheriffs 
are lodged in my office. 

"Given under my hand, at Knoxville, November 28, 1795. 

"William Blount." 

It will be observed that the Middle Tennessee counties 
were opposed to statehood, and the East Tennesse counties 
largely in favor of it. Governor Blount, General John Sevier 
and their followers, were all strongly for the new State. 
Thereupon Governor Blount issued his proclamation an- 
nouncing the result of the election : 

"William Blount, Governor in and over the Territory 
of the United States of America south of the River Ohio, 
to the people thereof; 

"Whereas by an act passed on the 11th day of July 
last, entitled 'An act providing for the enumeration of the 
inhabitants of the Territory of the United States of Amer- 
ica south of the River Ohio,' it is enacted, 'that if upon tak- 
ing the enumeration of the people in the said Territory as 
by that directed, it shall appear that there are sixty thou- 
sand inhabitants therein, counting the whole of the free 
persons, including those bound to service for a term of 
years,' and excluding Indians not taxed and adding three- 
fifths of all other persons, the Governor be authorized and 
requested to recommend to the people of the respective 
counties to elect five persons for each county, to represent 
them in convention, to meet at Knoxville, at such time as he 
shall judge proper, for the purpose of forming a constitu- 
tion or permanent form of government.' 

"And whereas, upon taking the enumeration of the in- 
habitants of the said Territory, as by the act directed, it 
does appear that there are sixty thousand free inhabitants 
therein, and more, besides other persons : Now I, the said 
William Blount, Governor, &c, do recommend to the people 
of the respective counties to elect five persons for each 
county, on the 18th and 19th days of December next, to 
represent them in a convention to meet at Knoxville, on 
the 11th day of January next, for the purpose of forming 
a constitution or permanent form of government. 

"And to the end that a perfect uniformity in the elec- 
tion of the members of convention may take place, in the 
respective counties, I, the said William Blount, Governor, 
&c, do further recommend to the sheriffs or their deputies, 
respectively, to open and hold polls of election for members 
of convention, on the 18th and 19th days of December, as 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 161 

aforesaid, in the same manner as polls of election have 
heretofore been held for members of the General Assem- 
bly; and that all free males, twenty-one years of age and 
upwards, be considered entitled to vote by ballot for five 
persons for members of convention ; and that the sheriffs or 
their deputies, holding such polls of election, give certifi- 
cates to the five persons in each county, having the great- 
est number of votes, of their being duly elected members 
of convention. 

"And I, the said William Blount, Governor &c, think 
proper here to declare, that this recommendation is not in- 
tended to have, nor ought to have, any effect whatever upon 
the present temporary form of government; and that the 
present temporary form will continue to be exercised in 
the same manner as if it had never been issued, until the 
convention shall have formed and published a constitution 
or permanent form of government. 

"Done at Knoxville, November twenty-eight, one thou- 
sand and seven hundred and ninety-five. 

"Wm. Blount. 

"By the Gov.— Willie Blount, Pro Secretary." 

In this proclamation Governor Blount recommended that 
an election be held on the 18th and 19th days of Decem- 
ber 1795 to select five persons from each county to meet 
in convention in Knoxville, January 11, 1796, for the pur- 
pose of forming a constitution and organizing a permanent 
form of government, and accordingly the election was held, 
and the persons elected assembled on January 11 at Knox- 
ville, and were as follows : 


Blount County, — David Craig, James Greenaway, Jos- 
eph Black, Samuel Glass, James Houston. 

Davidson County, — John McNairy, Andrew Jackson, 
James Robertson, Thomas Hardeman, Joel Lewis. 

Greene County, — Samuel Frazier, Stephen Brooks, Wil- 
liam Rankin, John Galbreath, Elisha Baker. 

Hawkins County, — James Berry, Thomas Henderson, 
Joseph McMinn, William Cocke, Richard Mitchell. 

Jefferson County, — Alexander Outlaw, Joseph Ander- 
son, George Doherty, William Roddye, Archibald Roane. 

162 Andrew Jackson an Early Tennessee History 

Knox County, — William Blount, James White, Charles 
McClung, John Adair, John Crawford. 

Sullivan County, — George Rutledge, William C. C. Clai- 
borne, John Shelby, Jun., John Rhea, Richard Gammon. 

Sevier County, — Peter Bryan, Samuel Wear, Spencer 
Clack, John Clack, Thomas Buckenham. 

Tennessee County, — Thomas Johnston, James Ford, 
William Fort, Robert Prince, William Prince. 

Washington County, — Landon Carter, John Tipton, Lee- 
roy Taylor, James Stuart, Samuel Handley. 

Sumner County, — D. Shelby, Isaac Walton, W. Doug- 
lass, Edward Douglass, Daniel Smith. 

These representatives constituted the Constitutional 
Convention of 1796, and William Blount was elected Presi- 
dent of the Convention, William Macklin Secretary, John 
Sevier, Jr., Engrossing Clerk, and John Rhea Doorkeeper. 

On motion a committee of two representatives from each 
county was appointed to draft a constitution, and it is nat- 
ural that every Tennessean should feel profound interest 
in the personnel of the Committee that made the original 
draft of the State's first constitution, who were as follows : 

Blount County — Craig and Black. 

Davidson County — McNairy and Jackson. 

Greene County — Frazier and Rankin. 

Hawkins County — Cocke and Henderson. 

Jefferson County — Anderson and Roddye. 

Knox County — Blount and McClung. 

Sullivan County — Claiborne and Rhea. 

Sumner County — Shelby and Smith. 

Sevier County — Wear and John Clack. 

Tennessee County — Johnston and Fort. 

Washington County — Tipton and Stuart. 

Mr. Smith of Sumner was Chairman of the Committee, 
and on January 27, 1796, a draft of the constitution was 
reported to the Convention, and on January 28 referred 
to the Committee of the Whole and was under considera- 
tion until February 6, 1796, when the constitution was 
adopted. The Convention was in session twenty-seven days. 
On February 6, 1796, Chairman McClung of the Committee 
on the Expense of the Convention reported that beside 

Andrew Jackson and Ear^y Tennessee History 163 

the per diem of the members and officers of the Convention, 
the expenses were ten dollars for seats for the Convention, 
and $2.62 for three and one-half yards of oil-cloth for cov- 
ering the table of the chairman and the secretary. The 
per diem allowed to members of the Convention and the 
officers was $1.50 a day for each member and one dollar 
for every thirty miles traveled to and from the Conven- 
tion, $2.50 a day to the clerks, and $2.00 to the doorkeeper. 

The Convention was held in the office of David Henley, 
Agent of the War Department. 

President Blount was instructed to forward as early 
as practicable a copy of the new constitution to the Sec- 
retary of State in Washington, and was further authorized 
to issue writs of election in the several counties for the pur- 
pose of choosing a governor and members of the General 
Assembly under the new constitution. On February 9, Pres- 
ident Blount sent to the Secretary of State a copy of the 
constitution by Joseph McMinn, a Hawkins County man, 
who was afterwards Governor of the State. Dr. James 
White of Davidson County was the territorial representa- 
tive of Tennessee in Congress. 

It is usual to quote Mr. Jefferson's comment on this 
constitution that it was "the least imperfect and most re- 
publican of any of the American States." It remained with- 
out amendment until the Constitution of 1835 was adopted. 


It is interesting to recall the members of the first Gen- 
eral Assembly of the State. In this list are names that 
achieved high position subsequently in the councils of Ten- 


Tennessee County — James Ford. 
Sumner County — James Winchester. 
Knox County — James White. 
Jefferson County — George Doherty. 
Greene County — Samuel Frazier. 
Washington County — John Tipton. 
Sullivan County — George Rutledge. 

164 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Sevier County — John Clack. 

Blount County — Alexander Kelly. 

Davidson County — Joel Lewis. 

Hawkins County — Joseph McMinn. 

James Winchester was elected Speaker of the Senate; 
F. A. Ramsey Clerk; Nathaniel Buckingham Assistant 
Clerk, Thomas Bounds Doorkeeper. 


Blount County — James Houston and Joseph Black. 

Davidson County — Robert Weakley and Seth Lewis. 

Greene County — Joseph Conway and John Gass. 

Hawkins County — John Cocke and Thomas Henderson. 

Jefferson County — Alexander Outlaw and Adam Peck. 

Knox County — John Menefee and John Crawford. 

Sullivan County — John Rhea and David Looney. 

Sevier County — Spencer Clack and Samuel Newell. 

Sumner County — Stephen Cantrell and William Mont- 

Tennessee County — Thomas Johnston and William Ford. 

Washington County — John Blair and James Stuart. 

James Stuart was elected Speaker; Thomas H. Williams 
Clerk; John Sevier, Jr., Assistant Clerk; John Rhea Door- 

After the organization of the Senate and House they 
met in joint convention for the purpose of opening and 
summing up the returns in the election for Governor, when 
it was found that John Sevier had been duly elected Gov- 
ernor of the new State. Judge Joseph Anderson swore 
Governor-elect Sevier into office. 

William Blount and William Cocke were elected Sen- 
ators in the Congress of the United States ; William Mack- 
lin Secretary of State; John McNairy, Willie Blount and 
Archibald Roane Judges of the Superior Court of Law and 
Equity, but John McNairy declined to serve, and Howell 
Tatum was elected in his place ; Willie Blount also declined 
and his place was filled by W. C. C. Claiborne; Landon Car- 
ter was elected Treasurer of Washington and Hamilton 
Districts, and William Black of the Mero District. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 165 

It was at'this session of the General Assembly that Ten- 
nessee County was divided into Robertson and Montgomery 
Counties; Washington County was also divided, and out 
of a part of it Carter County was established. Elizabeth- 
ton, the county seat, was named in honor of Elizabeth, the 
wife of General Carter. Grainger County was established 
April 22, 1796, and named for Mary Grainger, the wife 
of Governor Blount. 

On April 8, 1796, President George Washington sub- 
mitted to Congress the constitution of the new State of Ten- 
nessee, and it was referred to the proper committee in both 
Senate and House, and on April 12, 1796, the House Com- 
mittee reported recommending that the State be declared 
one of the United States of America. The Senate Commit- 
tee reported against the admission of the State, but the 
Senate finally yielded and the act was passed May 31st, 
1796, admitting Tennessee into the Union. 

But Governor Blount and William Cocke having been 
elected United States Senators before Tennessee became 
a State, it was necessary to elect them over again. Ac- 
cordingly, Governor Sevier called the General Assembly to- 
gether and they were elected a second time to the Senate. 

Andrew Jackson was elected the State's Representative 
in Congress, and took his seat at the session of Congress 
which assembled December 5, 1796. 

The bill admitting the State into the Union was ap- 
proved by President Washington June 1, 1796, and is as 
follows : 

"WHEREAS, By the acceptance of the deed of ces- 
sion of the State of North Carolina, Congress is bound to 
lay out into one or more States the territory thereby ceded 
to the United States. 

"BE IT ENACTED, ETC. That the whole of the terri- 
tory ceded to the United States by the State of North Caro- 
lina shall be one State, and the same is hereby declared to 
be one of the United States of America, on an equal foot- 
ing with the original States, in all respects whatever, by 
the name and title of the State of Tennessee. That until 
the next general census, the said State of Tennessee shall 
be entitled to one representative in the house of represen- 
tatives of the United States; and in all other respects as 

1 66 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

far as they may be applicable, the laws of the United States 
shall extend to and have force in the State of Tennessee, 
in the same manner as if that State had originally been one 
of the United States. 

"Approved June 1, 1796. 

"George Washington, 
President of the United States. 
"Jonathan Dayton, 
Speaker of the House of Representatives, 
"Samuel Livermore, 
President of the United States. 


Within the limits of this book it is impossible to write 
a history of Tennessee, or even the history of the State 
down to the death of General Jackson in 1845. A great 
many things will have to be merely mentioned, or, at best, 
an abstract given. Hence it is impossible to give a history 
of each State administration and only a brief mention of 
the Governors of the State will be made, with their term 
of office, the candidates for the office, and the vote each 
candidate received: 

John Sevier .... 1796-1801 — No oppostion. 
Archibald Roane.1801-1803 — No oppostion. 

John Sevier 1803-1809— In 1803 Governor Sevier was 

opposed by Governor Roane 
and the vote stood, Sevier 
6,786, Roane 4,923. In 1805 
and 1807 Governor Sevier 
had no opposition. 

Willie Blount. . .1809-1815— No oppostion. 

Joseph McMinn. 1815-1821— In 1815 the vote stood: Jos- 
eph McMinn 15,600; Robert 
Weakley 7,389; Jesse Whar- 
ton 7662; Robt. C. Foster 
4,184; Thomas Johnson 2,987. 
In 1817 Gov. McMinn defeat- 
ed Robert C. Foster by a 
large majority. 
In 1819 Gov. McMinn defeat- 
ed Enoch Parsons by a large 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 167 

William Carroll. 1821-1827— In 1821 the vote stood Car- 
roll 42,246; Edward Ward 
11,200; Governor Carroll had 
no opposition in 1823 or in 

Sam Houston. . .1827-1829— Defeated Willie Blount and 

Newton Cannon. Resigned. 

William Hall April 

1829 to October 1829 — Filled out the unexpired 

term of Sam Houston. 

William Carroll. 1829-1835 — No opposition. Governor Car- 
roll served as Governor of 
Tennessee longer than any 
other man in the history of 
the State. 

Newton Cannon . 1835-1839— The constitution of 1834 hav- 
ing removed the limit which 
prohibited any one person 
from being governor more 
than three consecutive terms, 
Gov. Carroll was a candidate 
against Newton Cannon in 
1835 and was defeated by 
Cannon by 11,000 plurality. 
In 1837 the vote stood: Can- 
non 52,600 and Armstrong 

James K. Polk. .1839-1841— Polk defeated Governor Can- 
non by 3,000 majority. 

James C. Jones. 1841-1845 — In 1841 the vote stood: Jones 

53,586; Polk 50,343. In 1843 
the vote stood : Jones 57,491 ; 
Polk 52,692. In two years 
after the race of 1841 Jones 
increased his vote 3,905 and 
Polk increased 2,359. 


On November 27, 1833, the Legislature passed an act 
providing for the calling of a constitutional convention 
to consist of sixty members to be elected on the first 
Thursday and Friday of March, 1834, to meet in the 
City of Nashville on the third Monday of May, 1834. Pur- 
suant to this act the election was duly held and the mem- 

168 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

bers duly elected, and the convention met on May 19, 1834, 
and remained in session until August 30, 1834. Ex-Gov- 
ernor Willie Blount was made temporary Chairman. Wil- 
liam B. Carter was elected President of the Convention. 

The Constitution adopted by the convention was sub- 
mitted to a vote of the people on March 5th and 6th, 1835, 
and was ratified by a vote of 42,666 to 17,691. This con- 
stitution remained in effect until the constitution of 1870 
was adopted, but it was amended in 1853 so as to provide 
that the Judges of the Supreme Court should be elected by 
the qualified voters of the entire State, and the judges of 
the inferior courts by the qualified voters of the districts 
where they were to hold court. It was this amendment 
which also provided that the Attorney General for the State 
and the District Attorneys were to be elected by the people 
instead of by the Legislature. 

In 1865 a convention was held in Nashville in which the 
constitution was amended so as to prohibit slavery in Ten- 

The Constitution of 1834 contained a provision look- 
ing to the liberal support of education in the State by 
common schools and otherwise, as follows, in Article XI, 
Section 10: 

"Knowledge, learning and virtue being essential to 
the preservation of public institutions, and a diffusion of 
the opportunities and advantages of education through- 
out the different portions of the State being highly con- 
ducive to the promotion of this end, it shall be the duty 
of the General Assembly in all future periods of this gov- 
ernment to cherish literature and science. And the fund 
called the 'common school fund,' and all the lands and pro- 
ceeds thereof, dividends, stocks, and all other property of 
every description whatever heretofore by law appropri- 
ated by the General Assembly of the State for the use 
of common schools, and all such as shall hereafter be ap- 
propriated, shall remain a perpetual fund, the principal 
of which shall never be diminished by legislative appro- 
priation, and the interest thereof shall be inviolably ap- 
propriated to the support and encouragement of common 
schools throughout the State, and for the equal benefit 
of the people thereof; and no law shall be made author- 
izing said fund or any part thereof to be diverted to any 
other use than the support and encouragement of common 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 169 

schools; and it shall be the duty of the General Assembly 
to appoint a Board of Commissioners for said fund and 
who shall make a report of the condition of the same from 
time to time under such rules and regulations and re- 
strictions as may be required by law; provided, that if 
at any time hereafter a division of the public lands of the 
United States or of the money arising from the sale of 
said lands shall be made among the individual States, the 
part of such land or money coming to this State shall be 
devoted to the purpose of education and internal improve- 
ment and shall never be applied to any other purpose." 

The very conservative temper of this Convention may 
be seen in the opening addrss of President Carter where 
he says: "The great principle which should actuate each 
individual in this Convention is to touch the constitution 
with a cautious and circumspect hand, and to deface that 
instrument, formed with so much wisdom and foresight 
by our ancestors, as little as possible," and this voice of 
the President prevailed generally in the changes made in 
the Constitution of 1796, there being only a few extensive 

1 70 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 



1745 — September 23, born Rockingham County, Virginia. 

1761 — Married Sarah Hawkins. 

1772 — Appointed Captain in the Virginia Line by Lord 

1772 — Went on a visit to Evan Shelby at King's Meadow, 
now Bristol, Tennessee, and visited Wautauga 

1773 — Located on North Holston and ran a mercantile bus- 

1778 — Left Watauga to which he moved from Holston and 
located on the Nollichucky. 

1779 — April 10 — Organized with Evan Shelby successful 
expedition against the Chickamaugas. 

1780 — August 14 — Married Miss Catherine Sherrill. 

1780 — Took part in the Battle of King's Mountain. 

1780 — December 16 — Defeated the Indians at the Battle 
of Boyd's Creek. 

1780 — Defeated the Indians on the Chota Expedition and 
burned their houses and destroyed their stock. 

1780 — Commissioned by Governor Nash of North Caro- 
lina Colonel Commandant of Washington County. 

1781 — Legislature of North Carolina by resolution asked 
Sevier and Shelby to return to North Carolina in 
the defense of that colony. 

1781 — March — Moved against Erati Cherokees in Smoky 

1781 — In November, with Shelby, joined Marion's com- 
mand in South Carolina. 

1782 — Made successful expedition against the Chicka- 

1785 — Appointed Brigadier-General of Washington Dis- 
trict by the Legislature of North Carolina. 

1785-1788— Governor of the State of Franklin. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 1 7 1 

1788 — Arrested and taken to Morganton, N. C, on a charge 
of treason, where he was rescued by his friends. 

1789 — Elected to the North Carolina Senate from Greene 

1789 — Disabilities of treason removed, and he became a 
member of the Senate. 

1789 — Reinstated as Brigadier-General of Washington 

1790 — First member of Congress west of the Alleghanies. 

1790 or 1791 — Moved from Nollichucky to six miles south 
of Knoxville. 

1791 — February — Appointed Brigadier General of the 
United States. 

1793 — Conducted the Etowah Expedition against the In- 
dians, it being the last military service rendered 
by him, and the only expedition or campaign for 
which he ever received compensation from the 
government. Etowah is the site of the present 
city of Rome, Georgia. 

1798— July 19 to June 1, 1800— Brigadier General United 
States Army. 

1796-1801 — Governor of Tennessee three terms. 

1803 — December 30 — Valentine Sevier, his father died 
100 years old. 

1803-1809 — Governor of Tennessee three terms. 

1811-1815 — Member of the United States Congress. 

1813 — Presented a sword by the Legislature of North 

1815 — Appointed by President Monroe on a mission to Ala- 
bama to settle the boundary between the Creek 
Indians and the white settlers. 

1815 — Re-elected to Congress, but died before he knew of 
his re-election. 

1815 — September 24 — Died near Fort Decatur, Alabama. 

1889 — June 18 — Remains brought back to Tennessee, and 
buried in the courthouse yard, at Knoxville. 

1 72 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 



The Sevier family is French in origin, and is "Xavier" 
in French, but was Anglicized to "Sevier" when the grand- 
father of John Sevier settled in London and there mar- 
ried. He had a son Valentine who, it seems ran away from 
home and came to America about the year 1740. Valen- 
tine Sevier was the father of John Sevier, and he had some 
dissipated habits. He landed at Baltimore, where he later 
married Miss Joanna Good, and he and his wife settled in 
Rockingham County, Virginia, where he cultivated a farm, 
and where John Sevier was born September 23, 1745. The 
family moved to Fredericksburg, where John attended 
school for two years, and later came back to Rockingham 
County and opened up a store and traded with the Indians. 
John Sevier also went to school at Staunton. After arriv- 
ing at the age of usefulness in the store, he worked with 
his father, and in 1761, before he was seventeen years old 
he married Miss Sara Hawkins. He laid out the village of 
New Market, and kept a store there for some time. In 
1771 he is said to have visited the Western waters — the Hol- 
ston, Watauga and Nollichucky — on a prospecting and 
trading expedition with goods, and it is certain that he 
went there in 1772. In 1772 he was appointed a Captain, 
in the Virginia line by Lord Dunmore, and Evan Shelby 
was also a Captain in the Virginia line, and had settled 
at King's Meadows, Bristol, Tennessee, and he invited 
young Sevier to visit him, which he did and during that 
visit, General Shelby and his son, Isaac, and Sevier, all rode 
horseback down to the Watauga, and became acquainted 
for the first time with James Robertson, who had been lo- 
cated there about one year. 

In 1773, Captain Sevier started with his family to the 
Western waters, and with him came his father and moth- 
er, his brothers, Robert, Joseph and Abraham, and sisters 
Polly and Catherine. His brother Valentine was already 


Photograph from miniature in the possession of his great -grand-son Daniel Vertner Sevier, 
of Jacksonville, Texas, who sent the miniature to Calvin M. MeClung of Knoxville, Tennessee, 
who had it photographed by Knaffl & Brakebill of Knoxville, in January, 1918. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 1 73 

there. They reached their new home December 25, 1773, 
which was located on the North Holston River, where Se- 
vier conducted a mercantile business for a length of time 
that does not clearly appear. He then moved to the Wa- 
tauga, and lived there for a length of time which also does 
not clearly appear, but it is certain that in 1778 he moved 
from the Watauga to Mount Pleasant, on the Nollichucky 
River, and there spent the remainder of the time until he 
moved with his family six miles south of Knoxville in 1790 
or 1791. He conducted his farm on the Nollichucky with 
slave labor. His father, Valentine Sevier, died December 
30, 1803, one hundred years old. Sevier, like Andrew Jack- 
son, was a good business man, and was successful in ac- 
cumulating property, both after he came to Tennessee, as 
well as in Virginia, and had he not spent his fortune in 
equipping expeditions against the Indians, and keeping 
open house, he would have died a wealthy man for his day, 
and not, as he did, practically broken up. 

He was at Watauga fort when it was attacked by the 
Indians in July 1776, and it was upon this occasion that 
Catherine Sherrill, who afterwards became his wife, made 
her historical run to get over the palisade from which 
she jumped, and was caught by Captain Sevier. The as- 
sault of the Indians was successfully repulsed, and a num- 
ber of them killed. With this defense of Fort Watauga 
began the career of John Sevier as a patriot, soldier, and 
Indian fighter, that was not to cease until 1815, when he 
died on a mission connected with the Creek Indians, in the 
State of Alabama. 

In 1775 he was elected Clerk of the first Court, and the 
next year was made a delegate to the North Carolina Con- 
vention at Halifax. He served on Colonel Christian's ex- 
pedition against the Cherokees, and was later appointed 
Lieutenant-Colonel for Washington County, which had 
been created out of all of the territory west of the moun- 

Sevier's relations to the people of the Western waters 
were probably never duplicated anywhere. It did not take 
the mountain men long to discover that he was a natural 
leader in whom they could absolutely confide, and we prob- 

1 74 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

ably could not do better than to adopt the opinion of Roose- 
velt, who is usually none too enthusiastic about Sevier, but 
whose opinion, nevertheless, in this instance, is a magnifi- 
cent tribute to him. Roosevelt says : 

"Sevier, who came to the Watauga early in 1772, near- 
ly a year after Robertson and his little colony had arrived, 
differed widely from his friend in almost every respect 
save high-mindedness and dauntless, invincible courage. 
He was a gentleman by birth and breeding, the son of a 
Huguenot, who had settled in the Shenandoah Valley. He 
had received a fair education, and though never fond of 
books, he was, to the end of his days an interested and in- 
telligent observer of men and things, both in America and 
in Europe. He corresponded on intimate and equal terms 
with Madison, Franklin, and others of our most polished 
statesmen; while Robertson's letters, when he had finally 
learned to write them himself, were almost as remarkable 
for their phenomenally bad spelling as for their shrewd 
common sense and homely straight-forward honesty. Se- 
vier was a very handsome man ; during his lifetime he was 
reputed the handsomest in Tennessee. He was tall, fair- 
skinned, blue-eyed, brown-haired, of slender build, with 
erect military carriage and commanding bearing; his lithe, 
finely proportioned figure being well set off by the hunting 
shirt which he almost invariably wore. From his French 
forefathers he inherited a gay, pleasure-loving tempera- 
ment that made him the most charming of companions. 
His manners were polished and easy, and he had great nat- 
ural dignity. Over the backwoodsmen he exercised an al- 
most unbounded influence, due as much to his ready tact, 
invariable courtesy, and lavish, generous hospitality as to 
the skill and dashing prowess which made him the most 
renowned Indian fighter of the southwest. He had an eager, 
impetuous nature, and was very ambitious, being almost 
as fond of popularity as of Indian fighting. He was al- 
ready married and the father of two children when he 
came to the Watauga, and, like Robertson, was seeking a 
new and better home for his family in the west. So far his 
life had been as uneventful as that of any other spirited 
young borderer; he had taken part in one or two unim- 
portant Indian skirmishes. Later he was commissioned by 
Lord Dunmore as Captain in the Virgina line." 


In nothing that has been written about John Sevier, 
and the amount written has not been large, is there an 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 1 75 

adequate explanation of why he took up with the moun- 
tain men, unless it be his love of adventure. While very- 
young during his business ventures in Virginia, he was evi- 
dently very successful, and he is reputed to have been a man 
of independent means for that day. There is no evidence 
of his making money an object after he came to the Wa- 
tauga ; on the contrary, it was a constant loss, and he final- 
ly died a poor man; his home, hospitality, pocketbook, 
horses and stock, appear to have all been at the disposal of 
his friends, and he kept practically open house for every- 
body. This course would naturally make him an exceed* 
ingly popular man, and it also made him a poor man, and 
finally broke him up. He was by birth and breeding a 
higher type of man than those he settled among. His 
prospects were flattering in Virginia, where he had be- 
come in good circumstances, hence we can find no osten- 
sible reason for his leaving Virginia and coming to Ten- 
nessee, except the love of excitement, adventure and lead- 

Sevier's participation in the Battle of King's Mountain 
is told in that part of this book treating of King's Moun- 
tain. In 1780 he was commissioned by Governor Nash 
of North Carolina Colonel Commandant of Washington 

In all, he is credited with participating in thirty-five 
battles, and achieving thirty-five victories; many of these 
battles were, of course, skirmishes with the Indians, but 
there were four that were serious military achievements, 
and they were at Boyd's Creek, Chota, against the Erati 
Cherokees and at Etowah, and in all of these he exhibited 
every quality that goes to make up a great military leader. 

The battle at Boyd's Creek, on December 16, 1780, was 
one of the most severely contested battles in our pioneer 
history, and was followed up by the Chota Expedition, 
which was greatly successful, and in which he was joined 
by Colonel Arthur Campbell with troops from Virginia, 
and Major Martin, with troops from Sullivan County. They 
burned the villages and houses of the Cherokees and de- 
stroyed their stock. Ramsey says that every Indian town 
between the Tennessee and the Hiawasee was reduced to 

1 76 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

ashes. They continued on down with their troops until 
they came to the Chickamauga towns, or Lookout towns, 
near where Chattanooga now is, and burned towns and 
villages, and killed cattle, hogs, and other stock, and spread 
devastation over the whole face of the country. From the 
Chickamauga towns they proceeded on down to the Coosa 
country, where the destruction of towns, houses, grain and 
stock continued. Returning by Chota, a conference was 
held with the Cherokees, and the terms of peace were 
agreed upon, upon which they turned the face of the army 
towards home, and marched back towards the Watauga. 
The leaders then sent a message to the Cherokees: 

"Chiefs and Warriors: 

"We came into your country to fight your young men ; 
we have killed many of them, and destroyed your towns. 
You know you began the war by listening to the bad coun- 
sels of the King of England and the falsehoods told you 
by his agents. We are now satisfied with what is done, 
as it may convince your nation that we can distress you 
much at any time when you are so foolish as to engage in 
war against us. If you desire peace, as we understand you 
do, we, out of pity to your women and children, are dis- 
posed to treat with you on that subject. 

"We therefore send you this by one of your young men 
who is our prisoner, to tell you if you are disposed to make 
peace, six of your head men must come to our Agent, Major 
Martin at the Great Island within two moons, so as to 
give him time to meet them with the flag-guard on Holston 
River at the boundary line. And to the wives and chil- 
dren of those of your men who protested against the war, 
if they are willing to take refuge at the Great Island until 
peace is restored, we will give a supply of provisions to 
keep them alive. 

"Warriors, listen attentively! If we receive no answer 
to this message until the time already mentioned expires, 
we shall then conclude that you intend to continue to be 
our enemies; we will then be compelled to send another 
strong force into your country that will come prepared 
to remain in it, to take possession of it as a conquered 
country, without making you any compensation for it. 

"Signed at Kai-a-tee, the 4th January 1781. 
"By Arthur Campbell, Colonel, 
"John Sevier, Colonel, 
"Joseph Martin, Agent and Major of Militia." 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee; History 177 

The punishment inflicted by the Chota Expedition and 
this communication kept the Indians quiet for a while, but 
it was not a permanent peace, and Sevier was always on 
the outlook for Indian murders and outrages, and he so 
continued until his final expedition against the Indians 
at Etowah, now Rome, Georgia, which was the last in which 
he was engaged. 

But in difficulty of achievement, and brilliancy of re- 
sults, Sevier's expedition against the Erati Cherokees is 
one of the greatest in all history. This expedition was car- 
ried out in March, 1781, and consisted of about one hun- 
dred and fifty men going against twelve hundred of the 
Erati, whose homes were in almost inaccessible parts of 
the Great Smoky Mountains, where they had been visited 
by very few white men. It is one of the wildest mountain 
sections of the world, and to penetrate it from the east 
would seem an utter impossibility. On the Watauga there 
was only one white man who knew anything about the 
home of the Erati. This was Isaac Thomas, with whom as 
a guide Sevier set out on his expedition over mountain 
tops and through valleys ; and across rivers and mountain 
torrents for a distance of two hundred miles, he made his 
way, and finally came to the towns of the Erati. Consid- 
ering the great distance he had to go, the nature of the 
country he had to travel, the mountains and gorges he had 
to cross, the wide, unbroken wilderness he had to traverse, 
the strength of the Indians he was seeking to assault, the 
expedition is simply wonderful, and it is probable that 
there was not a man living in pioneer America except John 
Sevier who would have undertaken it, but he did undertake 
it, and he brought it to a brilliant and successful conclusion. 
It took a leader of iron will and most adventurous disposi- 
tion and great courage that did not know what fear was, to 
carry out such an expedition. 


On January 18, 1781, at its first session after the Bat- 
tle of King's Mountain, the General Assembly of North 
Carolina passed a resolution that a sword and pistol should 
be presented to Isaac Shelby and John Sevier, each, in rec- 

1 78 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

ognition of what they had accomplished at King's Moun- 
tain. For -some reason, unexplained, this resolution of 
1781 was never carried into effect until July 17, 1813, when 
Governor Hawkins of North Carolina wrote to Sevier this 

letter : 

"Executive Office, North Carolina. 
"Raleigh, 17 July, 1813. 

"In compliance with a resolution of the General As- 
sembly of the State passed at their last session, I have the 
honor of tendering you the sword which this letter ac- 
companies as a testimonial of the distinguished claim you 
have upon the gratitude of the State for your gallantry in 
achieving with your brothers in arms the glorious victory 
over the British forces commanded by Colonel Ferguson at 
the Battle of King's Mountain on the memorable 7th Octo- 
ber, 1780. This tribute of respect, though bestowed at the 
protracted period, will not be considered the less honorable 
on that account when you are informed that it is in unison 
with a resolution of the General Assembly passed in the 
year 1781, which from some cause not well ascertained, it 
is to be regretted was not complied with. 

"Permit me, sir, to make you an expression of the high 
gratification felt by me at being the favored instrument to 
present to you in the name of the State of North Carolina 
this testimonial of gratitude, this meed of valor, and to 
remark that, contending as we are at the present time with 
the same foe for our just rights, the pleasing hope may be 
entertained that the valorous deeds of the heroes of the 
Revolution will animate the soldier of the existing war, and 
nerve his arm in laudable emulation to like achievements. 
I beg you to accept an assurance of the just consideration 
and respect with which I have the honor to be, sir, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"William Hawkins. 

"General John Sevier." 

At the time this letter was written General Sevier was 
a member of Congress from the Knoxville District, and was 
in Washington, and made reply: 

"With that memorable day" (alluding to October 7, 
1780) "began to shine and beam forth the glorious pros- 
pects of our American struggle. . * * * In those trying 
days I was governed by love and regard for my common 
country and particularly for the State I then had the honor 
of serving, and in its welfare and prosperity I shall never 

. Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 179 

cease to feel an interest. I was then ready to hazard every- 
thing dear to man to secure our independence; I am now 
as willing to risk all to retain it. * * * It is to be la- 
mented that the heroes and fathers of our Revolution have 
fallen into the arms of old age and death, and that so few 
of th'em remain to benefit the country by their advice or 
their services in the field. * * * Our country must be- 
come acquainted with the arts of active warfare, and then 
I am proud in thinking they will become better soldiers 
than those of any other nation on the globe, and we will 
soon be able to meet the enemy at every point." 

The Battle of King's Mountain must have given North 
Carolinians a very high estimate of Sevier and Shelby, for, 
on February 13, 1781, less than five months after the bat- 
tle was fought, the General Assembly of North Carolina, 
in session at Halifax, passed the following resolution: 

"Resolved : That Colonel Isaac Shelby of Sullivan Coun- 
ty and John Sevier, Esquire, of Washington County be in- 
formed by this resolve which shall be communicated to 
them, that the General Assembly of this State are feelingly 
impressed with the very dangerous and patriotic services 
rendered by the inhabitants of the said counties, to which 
their influence has in great degree contributed. And it is 
earnestly urged that they would practice a continuance 
of the same active exertion; that the state of the country 
is such as to call forth its utmost powers immediately in 
order to preserve its freedom and independence." 

Right at this time Sevier was unable to respond to this 
request, being engaged in protecting the mountain set- 
tlements from the Cherokees; but on September 16, 1781, 
following, General Greene wrote to Sevier informing him 
of conditions near Yorktown, and asking that he bring a 
body of riflemen as quickly as possible to Charlotte, North 
Carolina ; and Sevier at once raised two hundred riflemen 
on horseback, and marched them across the mountains, and 
joined his forces with those of General Marion on the San- 
tee and co-operated with Marion. 

In 1785 the Legislature of North Carolina created Sevier 
Brigadier General of Washington District. 


In 1787 the feeling was high between the adherents 
of North Carolina and the supporters of the State of Frank- 

180 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

lin, and it became evident that unless something was done 
a civil war might result, to prevent which negotiations of 
some kind or another should be opened and their merits 
tested. It was finally settled that General Evan Shelby, 
Jr., who had the confidence of the North Carolina govern- 
ment should be the negotiator for that State, and accord- 
ingly a conference was held at the house of Samuel Smith 
on March 20, 1787, to see if the difficulties could be ac- 
commodated. At this conference Governor Sevier repre- 
sented the State of Franklin. Sevier and Shelby were both 
men of the most interpid courage, patriotism, high char- 
acter and sound judgment, and it did not take the two long 
to reach the agreement that a temporizing policy was the 
wisest policy for the moment, and that opportunity be 
given for the situation to work itself out, as they both 
thought it would do. Men of less wisdom and stamina might 
have entered the conference in a hot-headed state of mind, 
each determined to have his own way, the results be what 
they might, but Sevier and Shelby acted upon large, high 
principles, and while their compromise did not actually 
settle anything, for the time being, it did have the result 
of letting the situation settle itself, which it did by the next 
year, so weakening the sentiment for the State of Frank- 
lin as to cause the peaceable downfall of that government. 
It is rare in history that two men stand out so vividly for 
political wisdom and sound judgment at a time when any 
other line of conduct might have brought on civil war. 
The entire story of what took place between Sevier and 
Shelby, and the agreement reached is told by General Shel- 
by in a communication to Governor Caswell of North Caro- 


"Sullivan County, March 21st, 1787. 
"Dear Sir: — Your letter and the packets which you 
were pleased to forward by your son, I have received, and 
the commissions to the several counties belonging have 
been forwarded, except those to the county of Greene, yet 
in my hands, not well knowing who to direct them to. The 
proclamations have been disposed of accordingly. I have 
held a conference with Mr. John Sevier, Governor of the 
Franklin people. The enclosed is a copy of what was there 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 181 

concluded between him and me. It is submitted to the leg- 
islature. The people of Franklin have lately held an As- 
sembly for their State, and have passed a bill for opening 
an office for to receive entries for the lands included be- 
tween French Broad and Tennessee Rivers. Also, they 
have laid a land and poll tax on the people. Conformable 
to the commissions for the peace sent up, courts of pleas, 
etc., have been held in the counties of Washington, Sulli- 
van and Hakwins, without any opposition. Many people 
are firmly attached to North Carolina; others are as ob- 
stinate against it ; however, it is to be hoped that time and 
reflection will restore them friendly to North Carolina. 

"The animosities arising from difference of opinion in 
governments among our people here have run high. To 
quiet the minds of the people, and preserve peace and tran- 
quility till something better could be done, was the rea- 
son that induced me to hold a conference and conclude on 
the articles enclosed. I would be much rejoiced if, as you 
mention, you would think, in earnest, to come and live 
among us. You might do much here. 


" 'At a conference held at the house of Samuel Smith, 
Esquire, on the 20th day of March, 1787, between the Hon- 
ourable Evan Shelby, Esquire, and sundry officers, of the 
one part, and Honorable John Sevier and sundry officers, 
of the other part. Whereas, disputes have arisen concern- 
ing the propriety and legality of the State of Franklin, and 
that sovereignty and jurisdiction of the State of North 
Carolina over the said State and the people residing therein. 

" 'The contending parties, from the regard they have 
to peace, tranquility and good decorum in the Western 
country, do agree and recommend as follows: 

" 'First. That the courts of justice do not proceed to 
transact any business in their judicial departments, except 
the trial of criminals, the proving of wills, deeds, bills of 
sale, and such like conveyances ; the issuing of attachments, 
writs and any legal process, so as to procure bail, but not 
to enter into final determinations of the suits, except the 
parties are mutually agreed thereto. 

" 'Secondly, That the inhabitants residing within the 
limits of the disputed territory are at full liberty and dis- 
cretion to pay their public taxes to either the State of North 
Carolina or the State of Franklin. 

" 'Thirdly. That this agreement and recommendation 
continue until the next annual sitting of the General As- 
sembly of North Carolina, to be held in November next, and 

182 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

not longer. It is further agreed, that if any person, guil- 
ty of felony, be committed by any North Carolina justice 
of the peace, that such person or persons may and shall 
be received by the Franklin sheriff or gaoler of Washing- 
ton, and proceeded against in the same manner as if the 
same had been committed by and from any such authority 
from under the State of Franklin. It is also recommended, 
that the aforesaid people do take such modes and regula- 
tions, and set forth their grievances, if any they have, and 
solicit North Carolina, at their next annual meeting of the 
General Assembly, for to complete the separation, if 
thought necessary by the people of the Western country, 
as to them may appear most expedient, and give their mem- 
bers and representatives such instructions as may be 
thought most conducive to the interest of our Western 
World, by a majority of the same, either to be a separate 
State from that of" North Carolina, or be citizens of the 
State of North Carolina. 

" 'Signed and agreed, on behalf of each party, this day 
and year above written. 

"'Evan Shelby 
" 'John Sevier.' " 


The State of Franklin arose in 1785, and perished in 
1788, and during the three years of its existence, John 
Sevier was its Governor; and it is in connection with the 
State of Franklin that he was arrested and taken to Mor- 
ganton, North Carolina, and there rescued by his sons and 
friends. The history of the State of Franklin, and the 
causes of its existence will be given in another part of this 
volume; this chapter concerns only the personal fortunes 
of John Sevier, and the Seviers. The arrest of Sevier came 
about in this way: 

Two sets of Courts were claiming each to be the duly 
authorized Courts in the territory of the State of Franklin, 
one set having officers appointed by the State of North 
Carolina, and the other officers appointed by the State of 
Franklin, and this of course, brought to an acute issue the 
authority of the respective Courts. An execution had been 
issued in 1787 and placed in the hands of the sheriff to be 
levied upon the estate of Governor Sevier, and the sheriff 
acting under the authority of the State of North Caro- 
lina, upon the strength of this execution, levied upon some 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee; History 1 83 

of Governor Sevier's negroes to satisfy it, and moved them 
from Sevier's farm to the house of John Tipton, who was 
a supporter of North Carolina and a personal enemy of 
Sevier's. At the time this levy was made Sevier was on the 
frontier of Greene County, defending the inhabitants 
against the incursions of the Indians. Upon receiving the 
information that his negroes had been levied upon, he re- 
turned at once and raised 150 men in Greene, Sevier and 
Blount Counties, and marched to Tipton's house to get pos- 
session of his negroes. Tipton had in his house not more 
than fifteen men at the time. Sevier had a small cannon 
with him, and it is due to his leniency and forbearance that 
Tipton's house was not blown into atoms, and every man in 
it killed. From Sevier's standpoint, the levy upon his 
negroes had been a gross outrage, and his action was to 
redress what he considered an outrage. This incident is 
one of the finest things in Sevier's entire record. When 
he reached Tipton's house, where there were only fifteen 
men, and he himself had one hundred and fifty men and a 
small cannon, he had Tipton completely in his power either 
to kill him, or to shoot his house to pieces, or to take him 
prisoner and put handcuffs on him, or to subject him to 
any indignity he saw fit. The difference between the two 
men cannot be better illustrated than by this forbearance 
on Sevier's part, when he had Tipton at his mercy, and 
Tipton's attempt to humiliate Sevier by having handcuffs 
put on him only a few days later, when he and a party 
captured Sevier and got possession of his person. Although 
smarting under the outrage of having his property levied 
upon, which had been brought about by John Tipton through 
personal dislike and jealousy of Sevier's popularity, Sevier 
virtually gave Tipton his life and liberty, and Tipton was 
never man enough to recognize the forbearance with which 
Sevier had acted towards him. 

Phelan in his History of Tennessee compares the char- 
acter of Sevier and Tipton in this way: 

"The two men can scarcely be compared. Tipton was 
indeed a brave man, but he lacked intellectual force. Envy 
of Sevier's popularity was the ruling motive of his char- 
acter. He was vindictive, relentless, and even malignant. 

184 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

One of the last acts of his official life was an attempt to 
destroy the reputation for honesty of Sevier, at that time 
Governor of Tennessee. He lacked the ardent generosity 
and fiery impetuosity of the latter, though his anger was 
quickly and easily inflamed. He felt peculiarly fitted for 
command and the leadership of great enterprises. He had 
experienced the bitterness of seeing Sevier year after year, 
called to take the lead in all civil as well as military crises. 
His hatred of Sevier was Indian-like in its intensity, and 
his threat to have him shot, after the collapse of the State 
of Franklin, was made with the determination of having it 
carried out. He was deterred only by appeals to his reason 
and his self-interest. He always thought of Sevier only 
as one who had warped his career and reaped the reward 
which else would have fallen to his own share. After Rob- 
ertson's departure, there was none who could have contest- 
ed the leadership of the frontier with Tipton but Sevier. 

"When Sevier, upon receipt of his commission as Brig- 
adier-General of the newly erected district, stood upon the 
steps of Jonesboro courthouse and advised the people to 
return to their allegiance, Tipton stood firm to the cause 
of the new State. But when Sevier, yielding to the dictates 
of his own inclinations and the persuasions of his friends, 
returned to the cause which it was popularly supposed he 
had deserted, Tipton wavered. When Sevier was elected 
Governor of the new State, his rage knew no bounds. He 
allowed himself to be hurried into extremities of resistance 
to the new government which frequently caused the shed- 
ding of blood and possibly loss of life. He held court at 
Buffalo near Jonesboro, under the authority of the parent 
State. On one occasion, he entered the courthouse at Jones- 
boro, captured the records, and turned the justices out of 
doors. He broke up a court sitting at Greeneville, under 
the authority of the new State. He had a personal alter- 
cation with Sevier on the streets of Jonesboro. " 

Sevier's refusal to blow up Tipton's house and kill all 
of those in it, and his declining to make war by armed force 
on his fellow citizens, has been taken by all the historians 
who have written on the subject to demonstrate that he 
never at any time was willing to raise his hand against a 
fellow citizen, even if that fellow citizen might be, as in 
the case of Tipton, a jealous, unscrupulous enemy. A heavy 
snowstorm ensued, while Sevier had Tipton in his power, 
and not desiring to shed the blood of any citizen, by de- 
grees Sevier's determination to get back his negroes yielded, 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 185 

and declining- to make any further contest over the matter, 
he and his men withdrew from before Tipton's house. By 
so doing, he prevented civil war west of the mountains. 
There is no doubt that if he had chosen to resist North Caro- 
lina, and challenge that State to send an army across the 
mountains to enforce her laws, that he could have whipped 
her, and have kept the State of Franklin in existence by 
force of arms ; he could have either killed or captured Tip- 
ton, who was the only open and outspoken enemy he had; 
therefore, the historian who writes Sevier's life, and who 
adequately paints his forbearance under overwhelming 
provocation, must concede that his conduct at the end of 
the last year of the State of Franklin was magnificent, pa- 
triotic, and great ; that history tells of few men whose moral 
sublimity towers greater than his ; and it would be difficult 
to find in history a nian w r hose conduct was more intoler- 
able than that of John Tipton, whose patent jealousy and 
egregious vanity led him to believe that he was big enough 
to be a competitor of John Sevier in the affections of the 
mountain men. The levying on Sevier's negroes was merely 
a trick to attempt to bring Sevier into opposition to North 
Carolina, and thereby brand him as a traitor, and this was 

The date of Sevier's appearance at Tipton's house with 
his men is not certain, but it was sometime during the 
month of February 1788. The term of office of Governor 
Caswell as Governor of North Carolina expired, and Gov- 
ernor Samuel Johnson succeeded him, and personal ene- 
mies and politicians, desirous of getting rid of Sevier, kept 
up misrepresentations of his acts and doings to Governor 
Johnson, until finally the Governor issued instructions to 
Judge Campbell as follows : 

"Hillsborough, 29 July, 1788. 
"Sir : It has been represented to the Executive that John 
Sevier, who styles himself "Captain-General of the State 
of Franklin," has been guilty of high treason in levying 
troops to oppose the laws and government of this State 
and has, with an armed forced put to death several good 
citizens. If these facts shall appear to you by affidavit of 
creditable persons you will issue your warrant to appre- 
hend said John Sevier, and in case he cannot be sufficiently 

186 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

secured for trial in the District of Washington, order him 
to be committed to public goal." 

Judge Campbell, to whom the Governor had directed 
his order, refused to execute it, but Judge Spencer, who 
held, by authority of the State of North Carolina, in con- 
junction with Judge Campbell, a court at Jonesboro, issued 
a warrant against Sevier charging him with high treason, 
and he was finally apprehended by Tipton and a party with 
him at the house of Mrs. Brown, where he had stayed all 
night. This was about sun-up and Sevier opened the door, 
and addressing Colonel Love, who was with John Tipton's 
party, said: "I surrender to you." Tipton had a pistol in 
his hand, and swore he would shoot Sevier, but finally qui- 
eted down, and ordered Sevier to get his horse to go to Jones- 
boro. On reaching Jonesboro, Tipton ordered handcuffs to 
be put on Sevier, and he there left him, with directions to 
the officers in charge to take him to Morganton, North 
Carolina. Sevier sent word to his wife to send him some 
money and some clothes, which she did, and he and the 
officers in charge started to North Carolina. A few days 
afterwards, Sevier's son John, his brother Joseph, George 
North, James Cozby, Jesse Green and William Matlock, 
followed after and found Sevier at a tavern, got him, and 
started back to East Tennessee. Colonel Love travelled with 
them until in the afternoon, and before he left, he got the 
handcuffs taken off. 

More than one narrative has been given as to how the 
rescue of Governor Sevier was effected. One of the versions 
is that the Court at Morganton was in session, and the 
Governor was being tried, and that a great crowd was in 
and around the courthouse, but later, and apparently bet- 
ter information is that this account is erroneous, and the 
following, given by the Governor's son John, who was with 
the rescuing party, seem to be the real facts of the case : 

"Immediately after the fall campaign of 1788, Colonel 
Sevier was arrested and taken to North Carolina. Gour- 
ley and French guarded him, and French shot at him. When 
they delivered their prisoner to the jailer at Morganton, 
who had fought at King's Mountain, he knocked off the 
irons from his hands, and told him to go where he pleased, 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 187 

not, however, to leave the place. Joseph Sevier, the Col- 
onel's brother, John Sevier, Jr., George North, Doctor 
James Cozby, Jesse Green, and William Matlock, went after 
the Colonel; when within a few miles of Morganton they 
stopped one night with Uriah Sherrill, brother-in-law to 
Colonel Sevier, from whom they learned that the Colonel 
was not confined, and treated with great lenity. Next morn- 
ing they rode into town altogether, no Court sitting, the 
sheriff absent, went to the tavern, and there found Colonel 
Sevier in company with Major Joseph McDowell and told 
him frankly that they had come for him, and that he must 
go. After tarrying an hour or two without any fear from 
the jailer or any one else, Colonel Sevier ordered his horse, 
and all started off before noon, in the most open and pub- 
lic manner, and returned home. They did not know but 
that the sheriff might possibly follow them, when he heard 
of Colonel Sevier's return, but he did not." 

The effect of the arrest and handcuffing of Governor 
Sevier was what might naturally be expected among the 
mountain men : it made him more popular and his friends 
more devoted than ever. At the first election following, he 
was chosen from Greene County to the State Senate of 
North Carolina, and in 1789 he went to Fayetteville, North 
Carolina, to take his seat, which was at first refused, but 
a resolution was finally passed to restore him to all the 
rights of full citizenship, which was strongly opposed by 
John Tipton, who was also a member of that body; and 
Governor Sevier was sworn in as a member of the Senate. 
He was reinstated as Brigadier-General of Washington 
District. Acts were passed confirming the Acts of the 
Courts of the State of Franklin, and legalizing marriages 
under that government. 

On the 21st of November, 1789, after North Carolina 
had ratified the Federal Constitution, John Sevier and 
James Robertson were appointed by George Washington 
Brigadier-Generals, the one of the Watauga District, and 
the other of the Cumberland District, and in 1790 General 
Sevier was elected the first Member of Congress west of the 
Alleghanies, and he took his seat as a Member of Congress 
from North Carolina on June 16, 1790. If he had a com- 
petitor in the race for Congress, his name has not come 
down to us. 

188 Andrew'Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

On February 25th, 1790, North Carolina ceded to the 
United States all of her territory west of the Alleghanies, 
and it was accepted by Congress on April 2d, and by August 
7th this territory with all other south of the Ohio River, 
was constituted into the "Territory Southwest of the River 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 189 



In 1790 or 1791 John Sevier moved from his home on 
the Nollichucky to a farm six miles south of Knoxville on 
the Martin Mill Road. 

The last, and one of the most important military cam- 
paigns carried on by him against the Indians was the 
Etowah Campaign in 1793, Etowah being where the pres- 
ent city of Rome, Georgia, is located. General Sevier's 
army consisted of six or seven hundred mounted men, a 
part of which were troops from Washington District com- 
manded by Colonel John Blair, and from Hamilton District 
under Colonel Christian. 

It was in this fight that Hugh Lawson White got the 
reputation of having killed the Indian Chief, King-Fisher. 
White was a member of the expedition, and he and some 
comrades leveled their guns on King-Fisher, and all fired, 
and the Indian fell. The town was set on fire and the In- 
dians repulsed. Sevier's victory was complete. On this 
expedition he was acting as Brigadier General of the United 
States, and by virtue of that fact he and his men were com- 
pensated by the United States government. This was the 
last military service ever rendered by Sevier, and was the 
only one for which he ever received any compensation from 
the government. 

His official report to Governor Blount was as follows : 


"Ish's Mill, 25th October, 1793. 
"Sir: — In obedience to an order from Secretary Smith, 
I marched in pursuit of the large body of Indians, who, on 
the 25th of last month, did the mischief in Knox County, 
near the Grassy Valley. For the safety and security of our 
army, I crossed at one of the upper fords, on the Tennessee 
river, below the mountains. We then bent our course for 
Hiwassee, with expectations of striking the trail, and be- 
fore we reached that river, we discovered four large ones, 

190 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

making directly into the mountains. We proceeded across 
the Hiwassee, and directed our march for Estanaula, on the 
Coosa River, at which place we arrived on the 14th instant, 
discovering on our way further trails leading to the afore- 
said place. We there made some Cherokee prisoners, who 
informed us that John Watts headed the army lately out 
on our frontiers; that the same was composed of Indians 
more or less from every town in the Cherokee nation ; that 
from the Turkey's town, Sallyquoah, Coosawaytah, and sev- 
eral other principal ones, almost to a man was out, joined 
by a large number of the Upper Creeks, who had passed 
that place on their return, only a few days since, and had 
made for a town at the mouth of Hightower River. We, 
after refreshing the troops, marched for that place, taking 
the path that leads to that town, along which the Creeks 
had marched, in five large trails. On the 17th inst., in the 
afternoon, we arrived at the forks of the Coosa and High- 
tower Rivers. Colonel Kelley was ordered, with a part of 
the Knox regiment, to endeavor to cross the Hightower. 
The Creeks and a number of Cherokees, had entrenched 
themselves to obstruct the passage. Colonel Kelley and his 
men passed down the river, half a mile below the ford, and 
began to cross at a private place, where there was no ford. 
Himself and a few others swam over the river ; the Indians 
discovering this movement, immediately left their entrench- 
ments, and ran down the river to oppose their passage, ex- 
pecting, as I suppose, the whole intended crossing at the 
lower place. Capt. Evans, immediately, with his company 
of mounted infantry, strained their horses back to the upper 
ford, and began to cross the river. Very few had got to the 
south bank, before the Indians who had discovered their 
mistake, returned and received them furiously at the rising 
of the bank. An engagement instantly took place, and be- 
came very warm, and, notwithstanding the enemy were at 
least four to one in numbers, besides the advantage of situa- 
tion, Captain Evans, with his heroic company, put them in 
short time entirely to flight. They left several dead on the 
ground, and were seen to carry others off both on foot and 
horse. Bark and trails of blood from the wounded were to 
be seen in every quarter. Their encampment fell into our 
hands, and a number of their guns, many of which were of 
the Spanish sort, with their budgets, blankets and match 
coats, together with some horses. We lost three men in 
this engagement, which is all that have fell during the time 
of our route, although this last attack was the fourth the 
enemy have made upon us, but in the others, repulsed with- 
out loss. After the last engagement we crossed the main 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 191 

Coosa, where they had thrown up some works and evacu- 
ated; they suffered us to pass unmolested. We then pro- 
ceeded on our way down the main river, near the Turnip 
Mountain, destroying, in our way, several Creek and Chero- 
kee towns, which they had settled together on each side of 
the river, and from which they have all fled, with apparent 
precipitation, leaving almost everything behind them. 
Neither did they, after the last engagement, attempt to 
annoy or interrupt us on our march, in any manner what- 
ever. I have great reason to believe their ardour and spirit 
were well checked. The party flogged at Hightower, were 
those which had been out with Watts. There were three of 
our men slightly wounded, and two or three horses killed; 
but the Indians did not, as I have heard of, get a single 
horse from us the time we were out. We took and de- 
stroyed near three hundred beeves, many of which were of 
the best and largest kind. Of course, their losing so much 
provision must distress them very much. Many women and 
children might have been taken; but, from motives of hu- 
manity, I did not encouarage it to be done, and several taken 
were suffered to make their escape. Your Excellency knows 
the disposition of many that were out on this expedition, 
and can readily account for this conduct." 

Tennesee was admitted into the Union as a State on June 
1st, 1796, and Sevier was elected the first Governor, and 
was duly sworn in, and presented to the Legisalture the fol- 
lowing very brief inaugural address : 

"Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives : 
The high and honorable appointment conferred upon me by 
the free suffrage of my countrymen, fills my breast with 
gratitude, which, I trust, my future life will manifest. I 
take this early opportunity to express, through you, my 
thanks in the strongest terms of acknowledgment. I shall 
labour to discharge with fidelity the trust reposed in me; 
and if such my exertions should prove satisfactory, the 
first wish of my heart will be gratified. 

"Gentlemen — accept of my best wishes for your indi- 
vidual and public happiness ; and, relying upon your wisdom 
and patriotism, I have no doubt but the result of your delib- 
erations will give permanency and success to our new sys- 
tem of government so wisely calculated to secure the lib- 
erty, and advance the happiness and prosperity of our fellow 
citizens. John Sevier." 

To illustrate the conciliatory disposition of Governor 
Sevier it may be cited that he proceeded to issue commis- 
sions to civil and military officers in the different counties 

192 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

of the State, among them the magistrates of Washington 
County, and one of the magistrates named was John Tipton. 
Sevier's admirers of this day could wish that he had not 
done this. Tipton was not a man to be admired, and, with 
•the exception of his personal courage, he had few qualities 
that called for respect. 

The Governor's last message to the General Assembly 
was in September, 1799, and is one of the longest, if not the 
longest, that he ever addressed to that body while Governor, 
and is given in full : 


"Mr. Speaker, and Gentlemen of the Senate, and Gentle- 
men of the House of Representatives: 

"It is with peculiar satisfaction I have the honour, this 
day, of meeting your august body in this House, where I 
have the pleasure of informing you the State is blessed with 
peace and quietude — the fields of the husbandman abund- 
antly supplied with the fruits of the earth — our harvests 
have yielded to the labourer ample satisfaction for his toils, 
and the other crops of grain are equally proportionate. 

"The laws and regular decorum, so far as come .within 
my knowledge, I have reason to believe, are duly observed 
and supported throughout the government. Emigration and 
population are daily increasing, and! I have no doubt, under 
the propitious hand of Providence, your patronage, the wise 
and wholesome laws you, in your wisdom, may think proper 
to enact, that our State will become more and more respect- 
able and conspicuous, and the citizens enjoy all that happi- 
ness and comfort this human life, in an ordinary course, 
will afford them. The poor and distressed claim the first 
share of your deliberations, and I have not the smallest 
doubt your attention will be duly directed to that, and every 
other object worthy of legislative consideration. Among 
other things, gentlemen, permit me again to remind you, 
that the landed estates of your constituents, in general, ap- 
pear to be verging onto a very precarious and doubtful 
situation, and should a timely interference be neglected, it 
may become a subject of very great regret. I, therefore, 
beg leave to recommend, so far as may be consistent with 
the cession act, public and good faith, that you provide, in 
the most ample manner, for the security and peaceful en- 
joyment of all such property as may appear to be in jeop- 

Governor John Sevier. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 193 

"Gentlemen of the Senate, and Gentlemen of the House 
of Representatives: 

"I now proceed to enjoin on you the great necessity of 
promoting and encouraging manufactories, and establishing 
warehouses and inspections of various kinds. It will give 
a spring to industry and enable the agricultural part of the 
community to export and dispose of all the surplus part of 
their bulky and heavy articles. Providence has blessed this 
State with a soil peculiarly calculated for the production 
of wheat, hemp, flax, cotton, tobacco, and indigo; it abounds 
with ores and minerals, and has navigable rivers, amply 
sufficient to enable us to export to the best of markets. This 
being the case, gentlemen, you may readily conceive how 
essentially necessary it will be for the encouraging and pro- 
moting of all the advantages enumerated, for you to lend 
your early legislative aid and patronage. With respect to 
the affairs of Europe, I am not able to give you much satis- 
factory information. The public prints seem to furnish con- 
tradictory accounts, but so far as I am capable of judging, 
our affairs with France assume a less threatening aspect 
than heretofore, and I have the fullest confidence that the 
Executive of the General Government will use the greatest 
and wisest exertions to promote and secure the peace, safety 
and dignity of the United States. 

"Gentlemen of the Senate and Gentlemen of the House 
of Representatives : 

"I am deeply and sensibly impressed with the honor con- 
ferred on me by my fellow citizens, in being selected a third 
time, to preside as the Chief Magistrate of the State. I earn- 
estly wish I possessed greater abilities and talents to en- 
able me to discharge the important duties, trust and con- 
fidence they have reposed; but rest assured, so far as T am 
enabled, nothing will be lacking or neglected in me, that will 
tend towards the interest, welfare and safety of the State. 
Before I close this address, I cannot forbear requesting a 
harmony of measures in your councils, and that you unite 
in endeavoring to promote our dearest rights and interests, 
and I have the fullest hope that, by your wisdom and policy, 
you may secure to our country the advantages and respect 
to which it is entitled and has a right to enjoy. 

"September 19th, 1799. John Sevier." 

The custom of the day was that the General Assembly, 
through its Speakers, should send to the Governor a written 
response to his message, and as such procedure is entirely 
novel to this generation of Tennesseans, the response of 

194 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Speaker A. E. Outlaw of the Senate, and of Speaker William 
Dickson of the House, is also given in full : 

"To his Excellency, John Sevier, Governor of the State 
of Tennessee: 

"Sir: It is with peculiar satisfaction the Senate and 
House of Representatives received your communication an- 
nouncing to them that our State is crowned with the bless- 
ings of peace and quietude; that the toils of the husband- 
man are amply rewarded with abundant crops ; that the 
laws, throughout the State, are well and duly executed ; that 
emigration and population are daily increasing ; and we beg 
leave now to assure you that, under the directing hand of 
All-seeing Providence, nothing on our part shall be wanting 
to increase the respectability of our rising State, and pro- 
mote the welfare and happiness of our constituents. 

"Receive, sir, our assurances that the matters and things 
contained in your communications, and recommended to us 
as objects of legislative attention, shall meet with that due 
investigation and deliberation that the importance of the 
different subjects requires. 

"We beg leave, now, sir, to express our gratification of 
being the witnesses of your being once more called, by the 
unanimous suffrage of the freemen of Tennessee, to the seat 
of the Chief Magistrate of the State, and expressing our 
public confidence that you will continue to execute those 
duties, which appertain to your office, with that firmness, 
judgment and impartiality which have heretofore charac- 
terized the Chief Magistrate of Tennessee. 

"A. E. Outlaw, S. S. 

"Wm. Dickson, Jun., S. H. R." 

In 1803 Governor Sevier was re-elected Chief Executive 
of the State, and by re-election continued as Chief Executive 
until 1809. From 1811 to 1815, he was a member of the 
United States Congress from Tennessee. 


James Phelan, deceased, was a university man, studied 
at Leipzig, Germany, wrote and published a History of Ten- 
nessee in 1888, and "Philip Massinger and His Plays," in 
1878, was a member of Congress from the Memphis Dis- 
trict, and Editor of the Memphis Avalanche. He gave in 
his History of Tennessee an estimate of Sevier which is a 
very strong presentation of the claim of Sevier's friends 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 195 

that while the work of his life was in limited territory — the 
State of Tennessee — he was entitled by his achievements to 
go down in history as one of the great men of the United 
States ; and concurring in this opinion of Sevier, a quotation 
is presented from Mr. Phelan : 

"John Sevier is the most prominent name in Tennessee 
history, and within these limits and upon this field he is the 
most brilliant military and civil figure this State has ever 
produced. Jackson attained a larger fame up.on a broader 
field of action, and perhaps his mental scope may appear 
to fill a wider horizon to those wmo think his statesmanship 
equal to his generalship. But the results he accomplished 
affected the history of Tennessee only in so far as it formed 
a part of the United States. Sevier, however, was purely a 
Tennessean. He fought for Tennessee, he defined its bound- 
aries, he watched over and guarded it in its beginning, he 
helped form it, and he exercised a decisive influence upon its 
development. It is safe to say that without Sevier the his- 
tory of Tennessee would in many important respects not be 
what it now is. 

"He came of a Huguenot family named Xavier, though 
h& immediate ancestors were from England, and the infu- 
sion of French blood gave him all the vivacity, impetuosity, 
ardent sympathies, and suave bearing which are popularly 
supposed to be characteristic of that nation. In personal 
appearance he was rather tall, erect, and even when young 
inclined to robustness. He had the quick flash of eye and 
the hasty temper of the impetuous character. He excelled 
in the manly accomplishments of the age and surroundings 
in which he lived. As a horseman he had no equal, and he 
was fond of showing his craft to the best advantage by 
riding an animal of temper and mettle. In the art of Indian 
warfare he had no equal, and he never met a reverse. Mad 
Anthony Wayne was not a greater terror to the Indians of 
the Miami than was Sevier to the Indians of the Cumber- 
land and the Tennessee. His rule of tactics was extreme 
caution in the absence or concealment of the enemy, reck- 
less impetuosity in their presence. Governor Blount on one 
occasion declared that 'his name carried more terror to the 
Cherokees than an additional regiment would have done.' 
To his men he evinced that suave cordiality and well-judged 
familiarity characteristic of all the great captains of the 
world. His enthusiasm, his personal daring, his resolute 
quickness, his knightly disposition, made him the idol of his 
soldiers and his neighbors. His tenderness to his wife and 

1 96 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

his generosity to his children were proverbial. His house 
was always open, and nearly all of his expeditions against 
the Indians were partly at his own expense or the expense 
of the family. He was popularly known as 'Nollichucky 
Jack/ and the grim mountaineers worshipped him with an 
extravagance of adoration. They loved him with a warm, 
almost intense, personal regard which had grown from the 
time when with Robertson he successfully defended the Wa- 
tauga fort against the largest band of Indians that had ever 
invaded the settlement, to the time when he crushed them 
at Boyd's Creek. Sevier was not skilled in the learning of 
books, but of the life around him, he was a thorough master. 
He could read the woods and the rivers, and the minds and 
the thoughts of men, and he knew how to use his knowledge. 
This was sufficient. But it must not be thought he lacked 
the rudiments of an education. He could write well and 
forcibly, and though a 'spelling bee' of the present day 
might put him to the blush, he could spell as well as the 
average. His chief claim to a higher order of ability is jus- 
tified by his clear vision, of the present needs of his people, 
and of the future requirements of the State whose greatness 
he foresaw. He was one of the Committee of Five in the 
Watauga Association. He saw the necessity of a union be- 
tween Watauga and North Carolina until the former had 
sufficient strength to maintain itself against outward en- 
croachments. He wrote the petition for annexation, and he 
secured its adoption by the Congress of North Carolina. He 
saw the necessity of keeping the British troops from the 
young settlements. If Ferguson had once passed the Appa- 
lachian chain, he would have been met with fire and sword. 
His very mode of warfare made maifest his statesmanship. 
Of all the men of his time, he alone foresaw and had a deter- 
minate idea of the limits of the future State. He foresaw 
and denounced the ruinous restrictions with which Jay's 
proposition in reference to the navigation of the Mississippi 
would cripple the commerce of the Mississippi valley and of 
the young State about to be formed between North Carolina 
and the Great River. He recognized what should be the 
logical enlargement of the three original settlements. He 
realized the necessity of a sure and compact growth, and 
he advocated only such purchases from the Indians as could 
be secured by settlement when purchased. He was fre- 
quently termed by the Indians 'Treaty Maker,' and he fig- 
ured in every treaty of importance which was made until 
the appearance of Andrew Jackson upon the stage of his- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 197 


Of the limited amount that has come down to us in writ- 
ten form from the contemporaries of Sevier, easily the 
most authentic and interesting- is the statement of John 
Hillsman, Esq., now on file in the Tennessee Historical So- 
ciety at Nashville. The statement was taken down in 1849 
at Mr. Hillsman's residence near Knoxville, in the presence 
of the Reverend Elbert Sevier, a grandson of Sevier. Mr. 
Hillsman was a merchant and trader in Knoxville, and was 
personally acquainted with him, and made the statement 
here quoted. This is one of the very few expressions in ref- 
erence to him by any one of Sevier's contemporaries. Mr. 
Hillsman said : 

"John Sevier was a very handsome man, probably the 
handsomest in the State — he had a noble bearing — really 
military, though very conciliating, without haughtiness. He 
was a native of Virginia, lived in early life near New Mar- 
ket, in Virginia, and at many places in Tennessee. He was 
always engaged in public service and can hardly be said to 
have had a home. As to himself he was at home every- 
where ; in Congress, the Legislature, in court, on the streets, 
on parade, marching, or in the tents or wild woods — little 
difference to him. He had a large family and is said to have 
owned much property — but whatever he had was at the 
service of his friends and for the promotion of the Sevier 
Party, which sometimes embraced nearly all the population. 
He knew how to get along with the people better than any 
man I ever knew. His house, his camp, his provisions, 
horses, means, were open to all his friends. . . . 

"Sevier was certainly a great soldier, a brave man, and 
most remarkable for his success in his Indian wars. What 
Judge Haywood has said of his Indian battles and victories 
and influence among savages, is true, so far as it goes — but 
the half is not told, for I have heard Sevier and many of his 
soldiers state a great many incidents of equal interest with 
those in Haywood's His'ty. — which ought to have been in 
the history of East Tennessee and Sevier's Indian Wars." 


The date on which Sevier, who had been appointed 
Brigadier-General, moved from the Nollichucky to the point 
whre he made his home six miles south of Knoxville, cannot 

1 98 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

be stated with accuracy, but it was in 1790 or 1791, and he 
located on what is now known as the Martin Mill Pike, on 
the right hand, going from Knoxville, and about one mile 
before reaching Neubert Springs. His home consisted, as 
country homes generally did at that time, of a cabin, and 
J. U. Kirby, who is the present owner, says that there was 
the Governor's cabin, and three others, disconnected, and a 
smokehouse. The property passed out of the hands of the 
Governor and his heirs, and at the time Dr. J. G. M. Ram- 
sey wrote his "Annals of Tennessee," it was owned by 
George W. Kirby, the father of J. U. Kirby, who sold it to 
the latter in 1868. A large spring bursts forth from the 
foot of the hill on which the residence is located, and the 
cut of the kitchen in this volume correctly reproduces that 
structure. The kitchen has never been torn down, and its 
walls and chimney are just as they were when General Se- 
vier and his family occupied the premises. 

The date he left his country home and moved to Knox- 
ville is also uncertain, but it was after he had been elected 
Governor of Tennessee, and therefore he lived in the coun- 
try some five or six years. When he moved to Knoxville he 
occupied a large frame building with an ell at the south- 
west corner of the intersection of Cumberland Avenue and 
Water Street, now called Central Street. Just how long he 
lived at this house is uncertain, but we know that it was 
while living here that he started to build what was at the 
time regarded as a splendid residence on the corner of Cum- 
berland Avenue and Crooked Street, now Walnut. The 
history of the Governor's purchase of this site should be 
interesting to all Tennesseans, and especially to admirers of 
the Governor. 

James White laid off the City of Knoxville in 1791, and 
on April 5, 1797, he sold to Governor Sevier, one block, 
bounded by Cumberland Avenue, Market Street, then called 
Prince Street, Main Avenue and Crooked Street, now called 
Walnut Street, one entire block, containing four lots, Num- 
bers 53, 54, 59 and 60, of equal dimensions, and in the aggre- 
gate containing two acres and thirty poles. 

Lot Number 59 was where the Park residence now 
stands. Lot Number 54 was at the corner of Cumberland 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 1 99 

and Market Streets where the Virginia Flats are located. 
Lot Number 53 was at the corner of Main and Prince Streets 
where there is a frame dwelling house, and lot Number 60 
was at the corner of Main and Crooked, now called Walnut 
Street, where the residence of the late Colonel J. Y. John- 
ston stands. Each of these lots occupied one-quarter of the 

Governor Sevier began the erection of a brick residence 
on Lot Number 59, and built up to the first floor that part 
nearest Cumberland Avenue, and then stopped, and after- 
wards moved back to his country home, at a date that is 
not clear. He was at this time, in embarrassed financial cir- 

The Governor held the four lots bought from General 
White until April 25, 1801, when, for a consideration of 
one thousand dollars he sold them to George Washington 
Sevier, his oldest son by his second wife, and on April 28, 
1807, the Governor and his son, George Washington Sevier, 
conveyed the lots in consideration of $2,600.00 to James 
Dunlap, of Wateree, South Carolina, and the acknowledg- 
ment of the deed was taken before John N. Gamble, Deputy 
of Charles McClung, County Court Clerk of Knox Coun- 
ty, at the July session of the Court, 1808, and it was reg- 
istered by Robert Craighead, Deputy of Samuel G. Ramsey 
in the Knox County Register's Office. On April 7, 1809, 
for a consideration of $5.00, James Dunlap, of Wateree, 
South Carolina, conveyed the four lots to William Herbert, 
Executor of John Dunlap, deceased, and the deed bore a 
recital as follows: 

"Whereas, John Sevier and George W. Sevier did, by 
their indenture bearing date 28th day of April, 1807, con- 
vey to said James Dunlap the hereinafter described prem- 
ises in part payment of a debt due from the said John 
Sevier to the estate of John Dunlap, deceased; and 

"Whereas, it is the intention of the said James Dunlap 
to re-convey the same to William Herbert, Executor of the 
said John Dunlap, who, as such, is entitled thereto." 

On April 15, 1809, William Herbert, of Alexandria, Dis- 
trict of Columbia, as surviving executor of John Dunlap, 

200 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

deceased, gave a power of attorney to John Mclvor, of Alex- 
andria, District of Columbia, to convey the four lots, and 
on February 20, 1812, John Mclvor as attorney in fact, in 
consideration of $1,100.00 conveyed them to James Park. 

James Park was born in Balleighan, Manor Cunning- 
ham, Donegal County, Ireland, April 14, 1770, and came to 
the United States in 1796, and settled in Knoxville in 
March, 1798. He was a merchant, and w r as mayor of 
Knoxville from 1818 to 1821, and from 1824 to 1826. He 
died in Knoxville September 19, 1853, and the property 
purchased from John Sevier and his son descended to James 
Park, Jr., who is known to the citizens of Knoxville as 
Dr. James Park, now deceased. The coming of James Park 
from Ireland to Knoxville brought some of the best Scotch- 
Irish blood, and was the means of founding a family of 
the highest worth in Tennessee and the South. De- 
scendants of Scotch-Irishman James Park are in many 
States of the Union, and, as a rule, they are Presbyterians 
and a high type of men and women; they have held in 
various States public positions which argues the estima- 
tion of their fellow citizens. 

James Park, Jr. — Dr. James Park — was born in the 
house he died in — the one John Sevier commenced to build 
— on September 18, 1822, and died July 14, 1912. He was 
one of the grand old men of Tennessee, whose memory is 
among the choicest possessions of everybody who knew 
him. He had in an eminent degree the Scotch-Irish char- 
acteristics, high integrity, fairmindedness, respect for law, 
consideration of the rights of others, and devotion to fam- 
ily and friends. He was the old type of American citizen 
which seems to be passing away, and w r hich will leave a 
void when the type is gone. Dr. Park had every personal 
virtue that any other man ever had, and his life illustrates 
the strong, honorable, fearless and upright citizen and gen- 
tleman. May his memory long survive! 

At the time Governor Sevier was commissioned by 
President Monroe to attempt to settle the Creek boundary 
lines in Alabama, he was living at his country home south 
of Knoxville, and his family was living there when he died. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 201 


John Sevier was twice married, the first time to Miss 
Sarah Hawkins, in 1761, who died in January or February 

We have been able to find nothing about the family of 
Sarah Hawkins, and the impression of the writers about 
her is that she was a school-mate sweetheart of Sevier's. 

His second marriage w r as to Miss Katherine Sherrill, 
on August 14th, 1780, who survived him. Only seven or 
eight months passed between the death of the first Mrs. 
Sevier and the marriage to Miss Sherrill, which seeming 
haste was caused, doubtless, by the fact of Sevier having 
so many young children at home, who needed someone to 
take the place of their mother. 

By his first wife he had ten children, as follows : 

a. Joseph, born in 1763, who married an Indian woman, 
and whose son, Reverend Jack Sevier, once attended a Meth- 
odist Conference in Knoxville. 

Gideon Morgan, a son of Col. Gideon Morgan, who com- 
manded the friendly Cherokees at the battle of the Horse 
Shoe, married one of Joseph Sevier's daughters. 

b. James Sevier, the second-son of John Sevier, was born 
October 25th, 1764, and married Miss Nancy Conway, of 
Washington County, Tennessee, on March 5th, 1789, and 
died January 21st, 1847. He was Clerk of the Court of 
Washington County forty-seven years, and he and his fa- 
ther lived on their respective farms on the Nollichucky 
River about eight miles from Jonesboro. 

James and Nancy Conway Sevier had eleven children, 

1. Elizabeth Conway, born July 9, 1790. 

2. Sarah Hundley, born July 22, 1792. 

3. Marie Antoinette, born May 12, 1794, died 1796. 

4. Minerva Grainger, born May 30, 1796. 

5. Pamelia Hawkins, born March 15, 1798. 

6. Susanna Brown, born June 25, 1800. 

7. Elbert Franklin, born September 17, 1802. 

8. Elbridge Gerry,' born March 19, 1805. 

9. Clarissa Carter, born April 9, 1807. 

202 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

10. Louisa Maria, born December 16, 1811. 

11. Mary Malvina, born April 4, 1814. 

The marriages of these children were: 

1. Elizabeth, married James S. Johnston, March, 1810. . 

2. Sarah Hundley, married Hugh Douglass Hale, Janu- 
ary 16, 1810, and their children were Lemuel Johnston, 
Sarah Amanda, Laura Evelina and Franklin Sevier. The 
mother of Frank L. Meek of Knoxville, was a Hale, and 
he is therefore a great-grandson of Governor Sevier. 

3. Minerva Grainger, married John Nelson April 30, 

4. Pamelia Hawkins, married Alexander M. Nelson May 
6th, 1817, and they had one son, Alexander M. Nelson. She 
died in 1822. 

5. Susanna Brown, married Richard B. Purdom Novem- 
ber 26, 1818, and they had a son, James Alexander Purdom. 

6. Elbert Franklin married Matilda Powell August 9, 

7. Elbridge Gerry, married Mary Caroline Brown No- 
vember 13, 1827. He was Circuit Court Clerk of Roane 
County, Tennessee, 1833-1836. His children were Thomas 
Brown, Henry Clay, Rowena Jane, James, Elbert Frank- 
lin, John Elbridge, Charles Bascomb, Samuel Conway, and 
Mary- James Sevier lived at Kingston, Roane County, and 
was one of the leading lawyers at the Bar of East Tennes- 
see. Charles Bascomb Sevier is now living at Harriman, 
Tennessee, and his daughter, Mary Katherine Sevier, is 
a teacher in the Knoxville High School. 

8. Clarissa Carter Sevier married John Jones May 7, 
1822, and was' the grandmother of Thomas E. Jones and 
great-grandmother of Derrell Jones, of Knoxville. 

9. Louisa Maria Sevier married James H. Jones Octo- 
ber 16, 1827. 

10. Mary Malvina Sevier married James Stuart July 
2, 1829, and they had a daughter Mary, who married John 
Howell, of Knoxville, and who now lives in Knoxville. 

c. John Sevier, Jr., was born Juiie 20th, 1766, and mar- 
ried Sophia Garrett, and they had a daughter, Anna Sevier, 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 203 

who married Henry Hoss, and their son, Elijah Embree 
Hoss, is now Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, in Tennessee. 

d. Elizabeth Sevier, married W. H. Clark, and had one 
child, who was called Sarah Hawkins Clark, who married 
General James Rutherford Wyly, a grandson of Colonel 
Benjamin Cleveland, of King's Mountain fame. It would 
seem that Elizabeth Sevier Clark died while her daughter 
was very young, as that daughter was raised in the home of 
Governor John Sevier, and his second wife, Katherine Sher- 
rill Sevier, and married General Wyly at the Sevier home. 

e. Sa?°a Sevier, born July, 1770, married Judge Benjamin 

f. Mary Ann, born 1771 or 1772, and married Joshua 

g. Valentine, born about 1773. 
h. Richard, born 1775. 

i. Rebecca, who married Mr. Waddell. 
j. Nancy, who married Walter King. 
By Katherine Sherrill, his second wife, Sevier had 
eight children, as follows : 

k. George Washington Sevier, who was Circuit Court 
Clerk of Overton County, and held positions in the army : 
Ensign, Second Infantry, March 26th, 1804 ; Second Lieuten- 
ant, August 22nd, 1805; First Lieutenant, May 31, 1807; 
Captain Rifle, May 3rd, 1808; Lieutenant Colonel, July 6th, 
1812; Colonel First Rifle, January 24th, 1814. He mar- 
ried Katherine Chambers and had eleven children: 

1. George Washington Sevier, 2nd, who married Sarah 

2. Katherine Sherrill Sevier, married A. W. Putnam, 
who wrote a history of Middle Tennessee. 

3. William C. Sevier. 

4. Thomas K. Sevier. 

5. Cornelia V. Sevier. 

6. John Vertner Sevier. 

7. Eliza Sevier. 

8. Marion F. Sevier. 

9. Laura J. Sevier. 

204 Andrew Jackson and Earl v Tennessee History 

10. Putnam Sevier. 

11. Henry Clay Sevier. 
1. Samuel. 

m. Ruth, who married first Colonel Richard Sparks, and 
upon his death, Daniel Vertner. 


Ruth Sevier was born at Plum Grove, John Sevier's 
residence on the Nollichucky, and grew up with something 
more than the ordinary experiences of a girl of the fron- 
tier life of that day. She exhibited a very strong interest 
in Indian character, and became acquainted not only with 
a number of the chiefs, but some of the warriors who, 
from time to time, came to her father's house. At one time 
a number of Indians lived for some three years at Sevier's 
residence, and Ruth learned from them to speak the Chero- 
kee language. Her first husband was Richard Sparks who 
at four years of age had been captured by Indians and 
raised by them, and given the name of Shawtunte, which 
was changed after his release for that of Richard Sparks. 
He was a playmate of Tecumseh and his brother, the Proph- 
et, two of the most resolute and dangerous enemies the 
United States had among the Indian tribes. Shawtunte re- 
mained in the family of Tecumseh until he was about six- 
teen years of age, and after being released, went to Ken- 
tucky, thence to the settlements in East Tennessee on the 
Holston and Nollichucky Rivers.) His mother recognized 
him by a mark that she remembered. John Sevier took 
him up and made use of his knowledge of the country in 
which he had lived, and finally obtained for him an appoint- 
ment in the Army. He married Ruth, who taught him 
how to read and write. He received the appointment of 
Colonel in the United States Army, and was stationed at 
Fort Pickering on the Mississippi in 1801-2. He was after- 
wards stationed with his regiment at New Orleans, Baton 
Rouge and Fort Adams; Mrs. Sparks accompanied him to 
each one of these posts. He remained for some ten years 
in the southern military district, and, his health becom- 
ing infirm, he made application to the War Department to 
be allowed to return to Tennessee, which was granted, and 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 205 

he afterwards went to Staunton, Virginia, where he died 
about 1815. 

Mrs. Sparks entered into a second marriage with Daniel 
Vertner of Mississippi, near Port Gibson. She died in 1834 
while visiting at Maysville, Kentucky. She never had any 

n. Katherine, who married first Archibald Rhea, and, 
second, Mr. Campbell. 

o. Polly Preston, who married William Overstreet Sep- 
tember 18th, 1806. 

p. Joanna Goocle, who married Mr. Windle. 

q. Eliza Conway, who married Major William McClellan, 
of the United States Army, on August 9th, 1810, and they 
had five children: John, Ann, Katherine, Mary Jane and 

r. Robert. 


Colonel John B. Brownlow gives some interesting remin- 
iscences of Elbert F. Sevier : 

"I remember the Reverend Elbert F. Sevier, grandson 
of Governor John Sevier, who was a tall, slim man, fully 
six feet, and, physically, bore a strong resemblance to the 
portraits of Governor John Sevier; his head, according to 
my recollection, being very much like that of his grand- 
father. Originally it was his purpose to be a lawyer, but 
he "got religion" at a Methodist campmeeting, and became 
a preacher, and was considered one of the most eloquent 
orators of the Southern Methodist Church, so attractive 
as a preacher that people from other churches would go to 
hear him preach. He was stationed in Knoxville at the 
Church Street Methodist Church. This was about, accord- 
ing to my recollection, 1850. The church stood on the same 
spot where the Church Street Methodist Church now stands, 
but that building was torn down to put up a better one. 
The records of the church would show the year that he was 

"There was a time when Alabama was in this (Hol- 
ston) Conference, -and in Alabama he met and married a 
lady who had considerable means ; she w r as, for that time, 
considered rich, and it was with her money he was en- 
abled to buy the lot and build the house which was later 

206 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

the residence of Judge Robert J. McKinney, of the Supreme 
Court of Tennessee. Judge McKinney bought it from him. 
It is on Main Street, and was, at that time, the finest house 
in Knoxville. 

"His wife whom he had married in Alabama, and his 
eldest daughter, Sarah, died within a few hours of each 
other, in 1854, of the cholera, and were buried in the same 
grave, in the old Gray Cemetery, in Knoxville. I was at 
the funeral. 

"At the time of this funeral the population of the town 
was estimated at about two thousand, and in two or three 
days after that, there were not more than five hundred peo- 
ple left in Knoxville. They had fled into the mountains, 
from the cholera. They had gone in private conveyances, 
had emptied the livery stables, (there were two of them) , 
and the people unable to ride, walked. 

"Reverend Seveir did not stay in Knoxville long after 
his wife died. He went to Chattanooga, and that was his 
home the balance of his life. His second wife was a daugh- 
ter of Rev. Jesse James of the Methodist Church, and a 
sister of E. A. James of Chattanooga, who was on the Dem- 
ocratic electoral ticket for the State at large for Tilden and 
Hendricks, in the Presidential election of 1876. Sevier 
died in Chattanooga. 


John Sevier had four brothers, and two sisters, as fol- 

Colonel Valentine Sevier, 
Captain Robert Sevier, 
Joseph Sevier, 
Abraham Sevier, 
Catherine Sevier, 
Polly Sevier. 


Colonel Valentine Sevier was born in Rockingham Coun- 
ty, Virginia, in 1747, and was a sergeant at the battle of 
Point Pleasant, and commanded a company at Thicketty 
Fort, Cedar Springs, Musgrove's Mill and King's Mountain. 
He rose in the militia to the rank of Colonel. He moved to 
Red River, where Clarksville now stands, and his home was 
there attacked by the Indians. He died at Clarksville Feb- 
ruary 23d, 1800, his widow surviving him until 1844, in her 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 207 

one hundred and first year. He was the first Sheriff of 
Washington County and a Justice of the Peace of that 

Colonel Sevier had five sons and several married daugh- 
ters who, with their husbands, lived with him; three of 
his sons were of age sufficient to serve in the militia and 
bear arms, and these three, Robert, William and Valentine, 
on or about January 18, 1792, accompanied by John Price 
and two or three others, started in boats from Colonel 
Sevier's home near the present city of Clarksville to serve 
under James Robertson in defense against the Indians on 
the Cumberland. The distance they had to travel was about 
forty miles. They were fired upon by the Indians as their 
boats went up the river, and the three Seviers were killed, 
or died from their wounds. Price escaped, but the young 
man who was with him was scalped, and all the provisions 
on the boat were taken. 

Colonel Sevier gave an account of the Indian assault 
upon his residence in November 1794, in a letter to his 
brother John. 


"Clarksville, December 18, 1794. 

"Dear Brother: The news from this place is desperate 
with me. On Tuesday, the 11th of November last, about 
twelve o'clock, my station was attacked by about forty In- 
dians. On so sudden a surprise they were in almost every 
house before they were discovered. All the men belong- 
ing to the station were out, only Mr. Snyder and myself. 
Mr. Snyder, Betsy, his wife, his son John, and my son 
Joseph, were killed in Snyder's house. I saved Snyder so 
the Indians did not get his scalp, but they shot and toma- 
hawked him in barbarous manner. They also killed Ann 
King and her son James, and scalped my daughter Rebecca ; 
I hope she will recover. The Indians have killed whole 
families about here this fall. You may hear the cries of 
some persons for their friends daily. 

"The engagement commenced by the Indians at my 
house continued about an hour, as the neighbors say. Such 
a scene no man ever witnessed before. Nothing but screams 
and roaring of guns, and no man to assist me for some 
time. The Indians have robbed all of the goods out of every 
house, and have destroyed all of my stock. You will write 
our ancient father this horrid news; also my son Johnny. 

208 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

My health is much impaired. The remains of my family 
are in good health. I am so distressed in my mind that I 
can scarcely write. Your affectionate brother until death, 

"Valentine Sevier." 


Captain Robert Sevier, a brother of John Sevier, mar- 
ried Kezia Robertson, the daughter of Major Charles Rob- 
ertson of the Watauga Settlement, and he was shot while 
acting as Captain in his brother's regiment at King's Moun- 
tain, and died the next day after the battle, and was buried 
at Bright's, on the way home. His grave cannot now be 
identified. He left a widow and two sons, Charles Sevier 
and Valentine Sevier. 

In 1852, Andrew Johnson, then a member of Congress 
from the First Congressional District of Tennessee, intro- 
duced a bill granting a pension to the descendants of Cap- 
tain Robert Sevier, but it failed of passage. 

Charles Sevier married Elizabeth Witt, of Green Coun- 
ty, and had fourteen children. He moved to West Tennes- 
see and bought a farm about four miles from Jackson, and 
took part in the battle of New Orleans as a Major in a 
West Tennessee regiment, and was promoted by Jackson 
for gallantry in that battle. He has had several descend- 
ants who have been in the different American wars. 

Robert Russell, grandson, was a soldier in the Mexi- 
can War and in the Confederate Army. 

Charles H. Sevier, a grandson, was a surgeon in the 
Confederate Army. 

John Bickle Sevier, a grandson, was a drummer in the 
7th Tennessee, Confederate. 

Lieutenant Robert Sevier, great-grandson, was in the 
United States Navy until within a few years ago. 


Valentine Sevier, the younger son of Captain Robert 
Sevier, was Clerk of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Ses- 
sions and of the Circuit Court of Green County for fifty- 
two years. He married Nancy Dinwiddie, and had twelve 

His son, Captain Robert Sevier, entered West Point 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 209 

in 1824, and graduated in the class with Jefferson Davis 
in 1828. He served in the Black Hawk War of 1837. 

Another son, Joseph Sevier, served in Company G, First 
Confederate Cavalry, and was killed at Peach Tree Creek, 
near Atlanta, July 22, 1864. 

His grandson, Charles Sevier, served in the Confederate 

His grandson, W. Valentine Sevier, was Captain in Col. 
James Ashby's regiment, Confederate. 

His grandson, Valentine Sevier Nelson, a graduate of 
the Naval Academy at Annapolis, is now in the United 
States Navy, where he has served for more than thirty 
years. He served on Dewey's flagship at the battle of Ma- 
nilla Bay. 

Valentine Sevier has descendants now living in Knox- 
ville, who are the children of Judge Thomas A. R. Nelson, 
deceased, who was a member of the Supreme Court of 
Tennessee in 1871, by his second wife, who was Miss Mary 
Jones, and they are Charles Nelson, Selden Nelson, Mrs. Jack 
Williams, and daughter, Mrs. Mary Williams Merriweather ; 
also, Mrs. William G. Brownlow, Jr., and Miss Ella Wil- 
liams, whose descent is through Isabel Sevier, a daughter 
of Valentine. 


Tennessee has not yet placed her two representatives 
in Statuary Hall of the House of Representatives in Wash- 
ington, and all Tennesseans hope that this will be accom- 
plished without further delay. The Legislature of the State 
has selected John Sevier and Andrew Jackson for Statuary 
Hall, by a Resolution passed February 19th, 1913, which 
was House Joint Resolution No. 35, of that Session. 

The resolution was duly adopted and is as follows : 

WHEREAS, the committee appointed by the last Gen- 
eral Assembly to take under consideration "The matter of 
placing the statues or effigies of two illustrious sons of 
Tennessee in Statuary Hall in the National Capitol," and to 
make return of their action in the premises to this Gen- 
eral Assembly, have acted as authorized and instructed in 
Senate Joint Resolution No. 28 of the Fifty-Seventh Gen- 
eral Assembly, and have handed in their report to the 
Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee of the House, 
which said report is in the words following, to wit: 

2 1 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"To the Honorable, the Fifty-Eighth General Assembly of 
the State of Tennessee: 

"WHEREAS, by Senate Joint Resolution No. 28, adopt- 
ed June 23, 1911, and approved June 27, 1911, the Senate 
of the State of Tennessee, the House of Representatives 
concurring, appointed a committee of nine to take under 
consideration the matter of placing effigies or statues of 
two illustrious sons of Tennessee in Statuary Hall in the 
National Capitol, and to make due and proper return of 
their action in the premises, together with their conclu- 
sion and recommendation to this, the Fifty-Eighth, Gen- 
eral Assembly of the State of Tennessee; now, therefore, 
we, the undersigned, being a majority of the committee of 
nine thus appointed, and all of its members now surviv- 
ing, do hereby report that we have taken said matter un- 
der full and careful consideration, and have, after such 
consideration, reached the conclusion that a just recogni- 
tion of the high and honorable achievements of the citizens 
of the State that have ennobled its history, and that of the 
nation, and left their inspiring memories to succeeding ages, 
renders it befitting and desirable that the State should 
be represented in the National Statuary Hall by statues of 
two of its illustrious sons; and that, after careful consid- 
eration of the names of the many distinguished citizens 
of the State whose deeds are enrolled upon its historic 
annals, in the opinion of the committee, the two illustrious 
sons of the State, whose statues should be thus placed in 
Statuary Hall as the most fitting representatives of its his- 
tory and its traditions and its contributions to the history 
of the nation, are John Sevier, chief builder of the com- 
monwealth and its first Governor, and Andrew Jackson, 
the first President which it gave to the nation ; and we do 
accordingly recommend that appropriate steps be taken, 
in such manner as to this General Assembly may seem 
proper, to the end that suitable statues of the said Sevier 
and Jackson shall be made as soon as conveniently may be, 
and installed by the State of Tennessee in the Statuary Hall 
of the House of Representatives of the United States with 
appropriate ceremonies. 

"Respectfully submitted, 

"James B. Frazier, Chairman, 
"Edward T. Sanford, 
"A. A. Taylor, 
"W. K. McAlister, 
"T. C. Gordon, 
"William A. Collier, 
"Geo. C Porter, Secretary, 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 2 1 1 

And, whereas, said report being seen and understood 
by this General Assembly, the Senate concurring herein, 
and it appearing to the satisfaction of the House that a 
proper selection of the two illustrious sons of the State of 
Tennessee whose statues or effigies should be placed in the 
Statuary Hall, or Hall of Fame, in the Capitol at Wash- 
ington, has been made and reported by said committee, to- 
wit : The names of John Sevier and Andrew Jackson ; there- 
fore : 

Be it resolved by this General Assembly, the Senate 
concurring as aforesaid, That the action on the part of 
said committee be received, endorsed, ratified, and approved, 
and that the same be made and declared the act and pur- 
pose of this General Assembly; and 

WHEREAS, it is not apparent what further steps should 
be taken at this time in this matter for want of proper 
information on the subject; therefore: 

Be it further resolved, That a committee of three — to- 
wit: Col. George C. Porter, Robert T. Quarles and Judge 
Robert Ewing, members and representatives of the State 
Historical Society — be constituted and appointed, and that 
said committee is hereby authorized, instructed, and direct- 
ed at a date as early as practicable, to ascertain what kind 
and charcter of material said statues or effigies should be, 
whether of marble or bronze, whether life or heroic size, 
etc., and what would be the actual or approximate cost, to- 
gether with the placing of same in position in said Statuary 
Hall, and to make due return of their action in the prem- 
ises to this General Assembly; and to this end, 

Be it further resolved, That said committee be here- 
by authorized and empowered to make publication of this 
object and purpose, and to obtain such drawings, casts, 
and exhibits from artists, sculptors, and designers as may 
be of aid and benefit to said committee in procuring this 
information for this General Assembly. 

Be it further resolved, That all further action herein 
be held up until the coming in of said report. 

212 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 





On March 25th, 1889, the Legislature of Tennessee 
passed Joint Resolution Number 13, which was approved 
by Governor R. L. Taylor on April 1st, 1889, as follows: 

BE IT RESOLVED by the General Assembly of the 
State of Tennessee that a joint Committee of three on the 
part of the Senate, and three on the part of the House, be 
appointed, whose duty it shall be to procure the removal 
of the remains of that illustrious and great man, ex-Gov- 
ernor John Sevier, from Alabama, and cause the same to 
be interred in the National Cemetery at Knoxville, Ten- 
nessee, and that five hundred dollars be appropriated for 
said purpose, said amount to be included in the General 
Appropriation Bill, and that said Committee be directed 
to open a private contribution or subscription list allow- 
ing any persons to subscribe such amounts as they see fit 
to be used by said Committee in the erection of a monument 
on the Capitol grounds at Nashville to his memory. And 
that the Governor and Speaker of the Senate and the Speak- 
er of the House shall be members of said Committee, by 
virtue of their office. 

Adopted March 25, 1889. > 

B. J. Lea, 
Speaker of the Senate. 
W. L. Clapp, 
Speaker of the House of Representatives. 
Approved April 1, 1889. 
Robert L. Taylor, 

This resolution was never carried out precisely accord- 
ing to its provisions. Governor Sevier's remains were 
brought back to Tennessee, but they were interred in the 
courhouse yard at Knoxville, and a monument was erect- 
ed, but it was over the remains there laid to rest; in all 
other respects the resolution was made effective. 

The identification of the location of Governor Sevier's 
grave was made in December 1874, as shown by the cor- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 213 

respondence that follows. It will be remembered that the 
Governor was in Alabama by appointment of President 
James Monroe on a mission connected with the Creek In- 
dians, and that he died September 24th, 1815, and was 
buried at once on the east bank of the Tallapoosa River 
at an Indian village called Tuckabatchee, near Ft. Deca- 
tur in Macon County. The correspondence shows how the 
location of his grave was rescued from oblivion; and it 
also shows the long neglect of the people of Tennessee to 
bring back! to the State which he virtually founded the re- 
mains of one of the finest characters in history. It is hard- 
ly too much to say that if there had been no John Sevier 
there would have been no State of Tennessee, at least not 
for many years after the State came into existence. 


"Bradford, Coosa Co., Ala. 

Dec. 16, 1874. 
"Dr. J. G. M. Ramsey, 

"Presdt. Historical Society of Tenn. 
"Dear Sir: 

"The reading in your 'Annals of Tennessee' of the life 
and death and burial of Gov. John Sevier, one of the found- 
ers and the first Governor of my native State, induced me 
to seek for specific information as to his last resting place, 
that if possible and desired it might be identified. 

"To this end I addressed to the Hon. Littleberry Strange, 
an old citizen of Macon Co. (which includes Fort Deca- 
tur where Gov. Sevier was buried) and an ex-judge of the 
circuit court of this State — he was originally from North 
Carolina — asking for information which I had been ad- 
vised he possessed. 

"In reply I received from him a letter, a copy of which 
I enclose, which I reckon contains authentic information 
on the subject referred to. And I send this letter to you, 
that you as President of the Historical Society of Tennes- 
see may make of it such use as you see fit : also that it may 
be filed among the archives of the Society. 

"In this connection I will remark that Fort Decatur is 
some miles from Tuckabatchee Towns, on the opposite side 
of the Tallapoosa River, upon a high point, where the ridge 
juts into the river. The Montgomery R. R. to West Point 
passes around the point which makes the place easy of ac- 

214 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"I will be most happy to co-operate in any way in any 
movement to identify the grave of Gov. Sevier, at this 
time, if it is desirable; and I shall be glad, in that event, 
to hear from you on the subject. 

"It will be a privilege to meet citizens of my native be- 
loved State around his grave that we may do further honor 
to his memory. 

"With kind salutations and many wishes for your health 
& happiness, 

"I remain yrs truly, 

"William Garrett." 


"Tuskegee, Ala Dec 5 1874 

"Col Wm Garrett 
Bradford, Coosa Co. Ala. : 
"My dear Sir :— 

"Your favor of the 27th ultimo is before me and con- 
tents noted, and to which it affords me much pleasure to 

"In the summer of 1834, forty years ago, soon after 
I had attained manhood, I was living near Fort Decatur in 
this county (Macon). 

"There came to my humble home Capt. William Walker 
and his nephew John Harbinson, both of whom I had known 
for years. Capt. Walker was at that time, a man of sixty 
years ; Harbinson was in the prime of life, say forty years 
old, both were native Tennesseans. 

"They stated they were going to hunt the grave of John 
Sevier. Sometimes they called him Governor, sometimes 
Gen'l Sevier. 

"Mr. Harbinson stated that he was present when Sevier 
died and said that he assisted in burying of the remains. 
He further stated that before the grave was filled that he 
took from the fire a post oak log or stump with a charred 
end, and that he placed it at the head of the grave, the 
charred end downward. He said that he had no doubt that 
the exposed end had long since decayed (which he found 
to be true) but that if we could find the charred end in the 
ground, that would identify the spot. 

"We went to the place where he stated Gov. Sevier was 
buried ; we commenced and continued digging until we 
struck a hard substance in the surface. 

"We dug up the substance, and found it to be the charred 
end of a post oak log or stump, some two or two and a half 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 215 

feet long. Mr. Harbinson identified that as the place where 
lay the remains of Gov. Sevier. 

"Capt. Walker took a light wood knot, some two feet 
long, placed it in the hole from which we had taken the 
charred end of the post oak log and said that there he in- 
tended to place a marble slab. 

"In 1836 Capt. Walker went with Gen'l Jessup to Flori- 
da, to the Seminole War, where he died without carrying 
out his noble purpose of placing the marble slab at the head 
of the grave of John Sevier. 

"Capt. Walker was a noble man; he was a patriot; he 
loved his country; he loved the noble dead, and for these 
qualities I esteem him. 

"And that his noble purpose might be carried out — he 
and Harbinson both being dead — I — for the purpose of car- 
rying out his intention, and for the further purpose of as- 
suring posterity of the location of the last resting place 
of a noble man — I, in 1841, procured marble slab and stone 
and placed them at the head and foot of the grave of Gov. 
John Sevier, and I have no doubt that these stones mark 
the true spot. I should have further stated that Harbin- 
son stated that, on the day that Sevier died, he, as the 
accredited agent of the Government, was on duty; that he 
had been to Tuckabatchee to attend a council; that on his 
way to camp, Sevier was taken sick, and died at the ford 
of the river, some two miles from camp ; that the remains 
were brought to camp for burial. 

"This is, I believe, about all the information that I have 
upon the subject to which your letter refers. 

"I hope all this may answer some good purpose and in 
some sort supply a broken link in the history of the State 
of Tennessee. 

"I remain your friend, 

"Littleberry Strange.", 


"Knoxville, Tenn., Dec 24, 1874 
To the 

"Hon. Mr. Garrett, 
Bradford, Coosa Co., Ala. : 

"I take great pleasure in acknowledging receipt of your 
several favors of recent date. 

"One of these letters the Historical Society of Tennes- 
see values most highly, as it contains interesting sketches 
of so many of our pioneer citizens who have done honor 
to our native Tennessee; another of them, we appreciate 
still more, as the means of identifying the spot where, after 

216 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

the achievements of a life, the remains of our great Cap- 
tain and worthy civilian, John Sevier, repose in the quiet 
of the grave. 

"He needs no monument, but it is a great satisfaction to 
know the place which grateful and admiring countrymen 
from Tennessee and elsewhere may visit and recognize as 
our Mecca, and to which hereafter our pilgrimage may be 

"Your communications will be published and the orig- 
inals deposited at Nashville in our collection of historical 

"It remains for me to present, officially, the thanks of 
the Historical Society of Tennessee for this labor of love 
which you have undertaken and so well executed ; I shall 
also add that at our next meeting* I shall be proud to pro- 
pose your name for honorary membership. 

"Should our Executive Committee take further action 
on the subject of still other honors to the remains of the 
memory of the great Tennessean, we will avail ourselves 
of the generous offer you make of participating in the same. 

"I have the honor to be, my dear Sir, most respectfully, 
your ob'ent servant 

"J. G. M. Ramsey." 


On June 15th, 1889, Governor R. L. Taylor, General 
Laps McCord, Gen. Frankle, Col. Jesse Sparks, Col. W. W. 
Eckles, Col. W. Green, Col. Granville Sevier, and Col. Joe 
Hardwick, members of his staff, and the Honorable W. L. 
Clapp, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Ten- 
nessee, left Nashville on the mission of bringing back Gov- 
ernor Sevier's remains to the State. In the party also w r as 
Judge James Sevier, and brother, of Kingston. When the 
party arrived at Montgomery, Alabama, on the morning of 
the 16th, they were met by Governor Seay and staff, and 
a regiment of Alabama State troops. A special train left 
Birmingham that morning carrying the two Governors, 
their staffs, the State troops, relatives of Governor Sevier, 
a number of citizens of Tennessee, W. C. Campbell, under- 
taker on the part of Alabama, Samuel Newman, undertak- 
er on the part of Tennessee, and Lloyd Branson, of Knox- 
ville, to make photographs of the disinterment. The des- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 2 1 7 

tination of the train was Governor Sevier's grave, which 
was near Fort Decatur, in the middle of a cotton field. The 
little plot in which the grave was located was surrounded 
by an iron fence, and at the west end of the enclosure there 
was firmly fixed, in the ground a headstone about two feet 
wide, and two inches thick, and two feet in height, which 
bore this inscription: 

"John Sevier. Died September 24, 1815." 

In the southeast corner of the enclosure was a sloe-tree 
— a small bitter plum tree — which seemed to be one of the 
features marking the spot. In the sloe-tree was a nest of 
wasps which were driven out by a lighted piece of news- 
paper applied to the nest. Governor Taylor and Governor 
Seay took positions at either end of the south side of the 
grave, when Governor Seay addressed Governor Taylor 
and the others present as follows : 

"Your Excellency, Tennesseans and Alabamians: 

"Nearly a century and a half ago friendg'presiding at 
birth swore a human being to the cause of human liberty 
— a more solemn invocation than that which called Han- 
nibal to the destruction of Rome, and akin to that which 
gave Samuel to the Lord. 

"For seventy long years — from 1745 to 1815 — John Se- 
vier gave his life to the republic, and here on this spot, 
seventy-four years ago he was laid to rest. Imagine this 
starved scene — the soldier's funeral! The war-whoop of 
the Indian had scarcely died away ; by the open grave stood 
the few surviving soldiers, and here and there the stal- 
wart form of a silent friendly savage; the startled hare, 
and the frightened squirrel wondered at the strange cor- 
tege that brought him to his last resting place. Silently 
and kindly nature has kept him since. Seventy-four years, 
and this guardianship has not been broken, for Alabama 
has adopted for his grave the benediction of Prentiss for 
that of LaFayette : 'Let no cunning sculptor or the orna- 
mental marble deface with its mock dignity the patriotic 
grace; but rather let the unpruned vine, the silent flower, 
and the free song of the uncaged bird, and all that speaks 
of freedom and of peace, be gathered about it.' 

"But now, very justly, not for Mr. Sevier's sake, nor 
for his fame, but for the sake of the Republic, and for 
the education and inspiration of her sons, Alabama sur- 
renders these sacred relics to Tennessee. Take all that is 

218 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

left of him, convey these remains kindly and gently to his 
own dear mountains of Tennessee, and under their pro- 
tecting shadows beside the Holston, let your monument lift 
its proud head that men may know that loyalty to man's 
best interests is never unrewarded. 

"We of Alabama hold Tennessee in deepest affection. 
She is the frontier from which came Andrew Jackson and 
his band of brave Tennesseans, and before Jackson, came 
Sevier. These and their brave followers made possible the 
civilization that we to-day enjoy." 

Governor Taylor responded to Governor Seay: 

"Your Excellency, Alabamians and Tennesseans : 

"I had not expected to speak until I had delivered the 
dust of this hero to his native State, and had consigned 
it to long rest in the bosom of the soil he loved so well; 
but I cannot allow the opportunity to pass for thanking 
Alabama on behalf of Tennessee for the most gracious and 
comprehensive reception that has been granted us at the 
hands of the Governor and so many of the representative 
citizens of this commonwealth. 

"General Sevier came to Tennessee from Virginia when 
but a boy and took up his residence on the banks of the 
Watauga which, as its name signifies is "beautiful water." 
Sevier was one of the heroes of his age, and of his coun- 
try, and in the dark days of the Revolution at King's Moun- 
tain, he defeated a regiment of the Army of Great Birtain, 
and by so doing aided materially in the establishment of 
our independence. 

"We receive this sacred dust from Your Excellency and 
from your people, and we take it back with us to lay it away 
tenderly under the soil which he loved so well. And from 
the mountain, under the shadow of which he made his first 
home in Tennessee, we will carve out a monument to the 
memory of him who literally millions will rise up and call 
blessed. Sevier was the greatest of the chieftains of Ten- 
nessee. Let him rest in peace." 

When Governor Taylor had finished speaking, one of 
the laborers engaged for the occasion, cut down the sloe- 
tree, and from it two sticks were cut, one for each of the 
Governors, and the remainder was given over to relic hunt- 
ers. The work of disinterment then proceeded. When the 
grave had been opened to a depth of some two and a half 
feet, the pick of one of the laborers struck a hollow place, 
and the crust through which the pick had passed began 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 2 1 9 

to cave in. A hollow was opened showing an arch, or sound 
crust of earth. When this arch was entirely removed, it 
showed a vault or hollow in clay, almost flinty hard, shaped 
like an old-styled home-made coffin, small at the head, 
broad at the shoulders, and tapering toward the feet. The 
party about the grave closed in and watched with intense 
interest the work of the laborers, and the formation of 
solid earth around where the coffin originally laid, but which 
now, reduced to dust, left only a hollow space. The hand- 
some metallic case which was brought to receive the re- 
mains, was placed beside the grave, and the bones that were 
found in the grave placed in it, which was all that was 
left of John Sevier, the founder of the State of Tennessee. 
Some nails which held the coffin together were found, and 
were old fashioned hand-made nails. The casket was placed 
on a wagon and with military escort and the Second Regi- 
ment Band playing the Dead March, the cortege took its 
way to the railway station, and reached Montgomery at 
three o'clock in the afternoon on its way back to the City 
of Knoxville, where the re-interment was scheduled to be 
made on June 19. ■ 


If the City of Knoxville, in common with the whole 
State of Tennessee, had been guilty of profound indiffer- 
ence as to Governor Sevier being buried in a cotton field 
in Alabama for seventy-four years, it determined as far 
as it was humanly possible, to atone for its indifference, 
and make a magnificent demonstration on the re-interment 
of his remains. Elaborate preparations were made, and it 
was estimated that thirty thousand people stood upon the 
streets of Knoxville and watched the procession which es- 
corted the remains from the depot to the courthouse yard 
where they were to be buried. The procession consisted 
of bands of music, various military companies, carriages 
with pall-bearers, the funeral car, carriages with descend- 
ants of Governor Sevier; carriages with Governor Taylor 
and his staff, city officials, county officials, and many civic 
and fraternal organizations, constituting a very imposing 
demonstration in honor of the dead Governor. 

220 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

The courthouse yard is at the southwest corner of the 
intersection of Gay Street and Main Avenue and ten thou- 
sand people gathered in the yard and streets, which is all 
that could stand there. The splendid casket containing the 
remains had been wrapped in a silken banner loaned by the 
Reverend J. H. Frazee. The program of exercises was sim- 

Invocation. By Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Humes. 


Address. By Governor Robert L. Taylor. 

Memorial Oration. By Hon. W. A. Henderson. 


Poem. By Capt. J. R. McCallum. 

Reinterment Ceremony conducted by Reverend Dr. 
James Park. 

On the Speaker's stand was the Committee of Arrange- 
ments, Governor Taylor and his staff, Col. W. A. Hender- 
son, who delivered the Memorial Oration, the great-grand- 
children of Governor Sevier and scores of prominent citi- 

Ten thousand people uncovered their heads when the 
kind, beneficent face of the Reverend Dr. Humes was ob- 
served as he arose and opened the exercises with prayer. A 
more impressive ceremony was never held before in the 
history of the world, and each of the ten thousand present 
felt that at last justice was being done to one who made it 
possible for the ceremony to be held that day — one who 
laid the foundations of the State, and called civilization into 
being west of the Alleghany Mountains. After all of the 
program had been carried out except the religious service, 
Reverend Dr. James Park took charge of that service, 
which was solemn, dignified and profoundly moving. The 
casket was lowered into its windoWless and final home 
and a huge marble slab placed over the sepulcher, and this 
was magnificently decorated with flowers. Doctor Park 
said in part: 

"By authority of the General Assembly of Tennessee, 
his mortal remains having been exhumed from their rest- 
ing place in the State of Alabama, have to-day been brought 
under honorable escort to Knoxville, the first capital of 






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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 221 

Tennessee, and the site of his residence, to find sepulcher 
in our midst, and so glorify our soil, and await the glories 
of the Resurrection Day. 

"And here, with patriotic pride in his heroic days in 
the time of war, and profound veneration for his high serv- 
ice in time of peace, we commit his mortal remains to the 
grave, 'earth to earth, ashes to ashes, and dust to dust.' 

"And may the people of this great State who owe so 
much to John Sevier for his unselfish service in times that 
tried men's souls, do him justice, and yourselves and the 
commonwealth honor by erecting such a monument as shall 
keep his name and fame and illustrious example in ever- 
lasting memory." 

Dr. Park then offered an earnest, solemn prayer, which 
completed the exercises, and the reinterment of Governor 
John Sevier in the State of Tennessee was at an end. 

The Tennessee Historical Society of Nashville made its 
contribution towards the re-interment by sending a life- 
sized oil portrait of Gov. Sevier, and also the sword given 
him by the State of North Carolina, both of which belong 
to that Society. The sword was sheathed in a much-worn 
scabbard, with a handle made of gold and ivory. On one 
side of the handle were engraved the words: "From the 
State of North Carolina to John Sevier ;" on the other side : 
"King's Mountain, 7 October, 1780." 

The full Committee which went to Alabama to bring back 
the remains of Governor Sevier consisted of Governor R. 
L. Taylor, and Messrs, McCord, Schubert, Whitthorne, 
Boyd, Hardwick, Sparks, Wells, Frankle, Eckles, Sevier, 
Dickson, Pearcey, Crump, and Weakley, of his staff; and 
Honorable Andrew Patterson, Judge George L. Maloney, 
and Messrs. Andes, Berry, Dofoson, Hearne, Stonedeck, 
Clapp, Lee, Gibbs, Ledgerwood, Newman, Osborne, Cooper, 
Lloyd Branson and S. M. Frame. 

Judge James Sevier of Kingston, a grandson of Gov. 
Sevier, was present at the re-interment; also, Mrs. M. H. 
Sevier, of Memphis, a granddaughter of the Governor, and 
her two daughters, Miss Sallie M. Sevier and Mrs. Wiggan. 

The movement to build a monument over the remains 
was started several days before the re-interment. On June 
15, 1889, a committee which had before been appointed and 

222 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

organized with the Honorable George Brown as Chairman, 
to devise means for erecting a monument, held a called 
meeting with a large attendance present, and Judge Brown 
presiding. It was resolved that a committee be appointed 
to wait upon the people of Knoxville and receive subscrip- 
tions to a monument fund, and the Committee consisted of 
James D. Cowan, A. J. Albers, W. W. Woodruff, Honorable 
J. M. Thornburg, General R. N. Hood, Honorable 0. P. 
Temple, C. E. Lucky and R. R. Swepson. 

The Committee proceeded actively to work, and with- 
out difficulty procured contributions from the following 
contributors: F. H. McClung, W. W. Woodruff, James D. 
Cowan, R. S. Payne, C. J. McClung, J. M. Meek, C. M. Mc- 
Clung, J. C. J. Williams, George Brown, R. M. Rhea, R. C. 
Jackson, Perez Dickinson, R. R. Swepson, R. N. Hood, E. 
E. McCroskey, William Rule, J. W. Caldwell, C. E. Luckey, 
Alex Summers, J. R. McCallum, S. T. Logan, 0. P. Tem- 
ple, M. L. Ross, Cullen and Newman, M. J. Condon, Cone, 
Shields and Company, John S. Van Gilder, D. D. Anderson, 
Joseph T. McTeer, D. A. Carpenter, W. H. Simmonds, M. 
P. Jarnagin, Chapman-White-Lyons Company, Betterton 
and Company, J. C. Luttrell, F. K. Huger, Leon Jourolmon, 
John J. Craig, Frank A. Moses, H. H. Taylor, J. W. Gaut, 
Charles Weller, Jerome Templeton, D. M. Rose, William 
M. Rhea, James O'Conner, W. L. Trent, W. A. Galbraith, 
John L. Hudiburg, James Comfort, S. R. Ogden, J. F. Bow- 
man, E. T. Wiley, J. E. Lutz and Company, T. H. Heald, 
Martin J. Condon, J. W. Scott, Brandau, Kennedy and Mc- 
Teer, John B. Minnis, J. W T . Yoe, J. C. Ford, C. H. Jennings 
and John McNutt. 

The last subscriber, John McNutt, was over eighty years 
of age, and his business was that of selling apples on the 
streets of Knoxville. He remembered seeing Gov. Sevier. 
A large additional sum was raised before the erection of 
the monument. 


Accompanying the Committee which went to Alabama 
to bring back Governor Sevier's remains was a reporter 
of a Knoxville daily paper, who concluded not only to re- 

Governor of the State of Franklin, 

times Governor of the State of Tennessee 

4 times elected to Congress. 

West face: 

North face: East face: 

The First Governor of Tennessee 


"Nolliehucky Jack" 

September 23, 1744 

-September 24, 1815 

Pioneer soldier, statesman and one of the 

founders of the Republic. 

South face: 

Projector and Hero of 

King's Mountain 

35 Battles, 35 Victories 

His Indian War-cry 

"Here they are, come on boys, come on." 

Governor John Sevier's Tomb, Court House Yard in Knoxville. 

The typical pioneer 

He conquered the wilderness 

And fashioned the State. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 223 

port the disinterment, but, if possible, to find the grave of 
Mrs. Katherine Sherrill Sevier, and his letter is reproduced 
just as it appeared in his paper, the Knoxville Journal: 

(Special to The Journal.) 

"Birmingham, Ala., June 19, 1889. — Your correspond- 
ent heard a rumor to the effect that the wife of Governor 
John Sevier was buried in or near Russellville, Alabama, 
and today finds him in that village for the purpose of con- 
firming that rumor. His purpose has been fulfilled, and 
the rumor has proven true. In an almost desolate local- 
ity, in the northern part of the town of Russellville, is what 
your reporter might call the ruins of a burial ground. De- 
sertion and neglect are apparent in every portion of it. 
The rock walls which surround the family enclosure are 
crumbling and decaying. Dead leaves of nearly a century's 
falling, have made it impossible to describe the shape 
of the grave in this dismal, neglected graveyard, and the 
towering oaks render the place dismal by day and murky 
by night. So strange a feeling creeps over one here at the 
sight of this clammy spot that he is more anxious to go 
away than he was to visit it. Your correspondent had the 
company of a grandson of the great ex-Governor, as well 
as his society and his otherwise backwardness assumed the 
form of resignation to the end of an unnatural superstition 
on visiting such a murky locality. 

"Dr. Daniel B. Sevier accompanied your correspond- 
ent to the spot where his grandmother was buried nearly 
fifty years ago. The grave is laid near an ordinary country 
road, which runs through a desolate cemetery, which is not 
fenced in and young oak rises from the midst of the dead 
leaves which have fallen nearly a century, and a simple 
headstone, about ten feet distant, marks the spot where 
the better-half of the great Revolutionary patriot sleeps. 
It has this inscription : 'Katherine Sevier, wife of Gov- 
ernor John Sevier, of Tennessee, Died October 7, 1836. Age 
82 years.' 

"In the interview with Dr. Daniel B. Sevier, a grand- 
son of the early patriot and of the first Governor, your cor- 
respondent learned that the widow of the Governor, after 
his death, either from preference, or other motive, decided 
to live with her son, Dr. Sam Sevier, the father of Dr. Se- 
vier, who in 1836 decided to move to Russellville, Ala. His 
decision was of course carried into effect, and June 10th, 
1836, found him located in that place, having brought with 
him his mother, the wife of the first Governor of Tennes- 
see. It was his intention to allow her to spend the remain- 

224 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

der of her peaceable days in this healthy, secluded valley, 
but they proved to be short, for she died in October of this 
same year, being in the 82nd year of her age, and she was 
buried in the presence of her grandson. 

"At the spot mentioned before, at the neglected spot, she 
now lies, coincident with the ceremony attending the re- 
interment of her husband upon the location selected by 
the patriotic citizens of her native State, and unless the 
ladies of Tennessee realize the fact that his gentle mate was 
perhaps the inspiration, at least partly, of many of his most 
gallant deeds, the cause of temperance in his warm war 
blood after his return from successive exploits and of cool- 
er judgment that befitted him for the latter duties of the 
statesman, her bones, already resolved, like those of her 
husband, into dust, will remain there forever." 

But while her grave is generally unknown to the world, 
historjr has not forgotten Katherine Sherrill Sevier, and 
her name will live as long as that of her husband, and he 
will live in the minds of Tennesseans until time ceases. We 
are all, therefore, interested in the wife of Governor Sevier, 
whose life demonstrates a grand type of woman. 

Col. John B. Brownlow kindly sent the author while 
this book was being written, an old volume entitled "Pioneer 
Women of the West" by Mrs. E. F. Ellet, published in 
1852. Mrs. Ellet states in her preface that the sketch of 
Mrs. Sevier in the book was written by A. W. Putnam of 
Nashville. This is the same A. W. Putnam who married 
a daughter of George W. Sevier, and who wrote "The His- 
tory of Middle Tennessee," which is recognized as a stand- 
ard authority. Mr. Putnam personally knew Mrs. Kather- 
ine Sevier, and therefore is an eye-witness with personal 
knowledge of what he writes. In 1849, when the Tennes- 
see Historical Society was organized he was elected as its 
first Vice President. We think, therefore, the reader will 
thank us for quoting what Mr. Putnam has to say about 
Mrs. Sevier, and in his own words : 

"After the death of Governor Sevier on the Tallapoosa, 
in 1815, where he had gone to cement peace and establish 
the boundary with the Creek Indians, Mrs. Sevier removed 
to Overton County, in Middle Tennessee, where most of 
her children resided. She selected a most romantic and 
secluded spot for her own retired residence. It was upon 

Andrew Jacksox and Early Tennessee History 225 

a high bench, or spur, of one of the mountains of that coun- 
ty, a few miles from Obeds River, with higher mountains 
on either side. There were some ten or fifteen acres of 
tillable land and a bold, never-failing spring issuing from 
near the surface of the level tract, which cast its pure cold 
w r aters down the side of the mountain, hundreds of feet 
into the narrow valley. In a dense wood near that spring, 
and miles distant from any other habitation, did her sons 
erect her log cabins for bedroom, dining-room and kitchen, 
and others for stable and crib. She resided for years at 
'The Dale' with the General's aged body-servant, Toby 
(who had accompanied him in all his Indian campaigns), 
his wife, Rachel, and a favorite female servant and boy. 
Seldom did she come down from her eyrie in the moun- 
tain. The aged eagle had lost her mate. She made her nest 
among the lofty oaks upon the mountain heights, where 
she breathed the air and drank the water untainted and 
undisturbed, fresh and pure, and nearest to the heavens. 

"We have visited her in that chosen spot. 'The Gov- 
ernor's Widow' could never be looked upon as an ordinary 
country woman. Whoever saw her could not be satisfied 
with a single glance — he must look again. And if she 
stood erect, and her penetrating eye caught the beholder's, 
he judged at once there was in that mind a consciousness 
of worth and an acquaintance with notable events. He 
would wish to converse with her. She used language of much 
.expressiveness and point. She never forgot that she was 
the widow of Governor and General Sevier; that he had 
given forty years of his life to the service of his country, 
and in the most arduous and perilous exposure contributing 
from his own means far more than he ever received from 
the public treasury ; and yet he never reproached that coun- 
try for injustice, neither would she murmur nor repine. 

"At times she was disposed to sociable cheerfulness and 
humor, as one in youthful days, and then would she relate 
interesting anecdotes and incidents of the early settlement 
of the country, the manners and habits of the people, of 
the 'barefoot and moccasin dance' and 'spicewood tea par- 
ties.' Her woman's pride, or some other feminine feeling, 
induced her to preserve, with the utmost care, an imported 
or bought carpet, of about twelve by fifteen feet in size, 
which had been presented to her as the 'first Governor's 
wife,' and as the first article of the kind ever laid upon 
a 'puncheon' or split-log floor west of the Alleghany Moun- 
tains. Whenever she expected company upon her own in- 
vitation, or persons of character came to pay their respects 
to her, the Scotch carpet was sure to be spread out, about 
the size of a modern bedquilt. But as soon as company de- 

226 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee; History 

parted, the ever-present and faithful servants, Suzy and 
Jeff, incontinently commenced dusting and folding, and it 
was soon again boxed up. Three times were we permit- 
ted the honorable privilege of placing our well cleaned boots 
upon this dear relic from the household of the first Govern- 
or of Tennessee, and of admiring the pair of ancient and 
decrepit branch-candlesticks as they stood on the. board 
over the fire-place. 

"The bucket of cool water was ever on the shelf at the 
batten-door, which stood wide open, swung back upon its 
woden hinges ; and there hung the sweet water-gourd ; and 
from very love of everything around, we repeatedly helped 
ourselves. The doors, the floors, the chairs, the dishes on 
the shelves — yea, everything seemed to have been scoured. 
There was a lovely cleanness and order, and we believe, 
'godliness with contentment.' 

"She was remarkably neat in her person, tidy, and par- 
ticular, and uniform in her dress, which might be called 
half-mourning — white cap with black trimmings. She had 
a hearth-rug, the accompaniment of the favorite carpet, 
which was usually laid before the fire-place in her own 
room, and there she commonly was seated, erect as a statue 
— no stooping of the figure, so often acquired by indolence 
and careless habit, or from infirm old age — but with her 
feet placed upon her rug, her workstand near her side, the 
Bible ever thereon, or in her lap, the Governor's hat upon 
the wall — such were the striking features of that mountain i 

"There was resignation and good cheer — there was hos- 
pitality and worth in that plain cottage; and had not the 
prospect of better fortune, and attachment to children mar- 
ried and settled at a distance, induced her own sons to re- 
move from her vicinity, she ought never to have been urged 
to come down from that 'lodge in the wilderness.' But her 
last son having resolved to move to Alabama, she consent- 
ed to go with him, and pass her few remaining days in his 

"She departed this life on the 2d October, 1836, at Rus- 
sellville, in the State of Alabama, aged about eighty-two." 

The readers, especially those in Tennessee, naturally 
would like to learn as much as possible of what became of 
Governor Sevier's children, and his brothers and sisters, 
and a statement about them is in the Life of Jefferson D. 
Goodpasture, written by his two sons : 

"Governor Sevier located two grants for something over 
57,000 acres of land in Overton County, now Overton and 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 227 

Clay. On this vast domain many members of his family 
settled. After his death * * * his widow, the cele- 
brated 'Bonnie Kate/ moved to The Dale, now known as 
the Clark place, in Clay County. It was in a romantic and 
secluded spot, upon a high bench, among the hills of Obeds 
River. Around her, but not with her, were her brother, 
brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, sons and daughters. Mrs. 
Matlock, a sister of Governor Sevier, was the mother-in- 
law of Valentine Matlock, one-time sheriff of Overton Coun- 
ty; and George W. Sevier, a son, was circuit court clerk. 
Her brother, John Sherrill, lived near the mouth of Wolf 
River, as did her son, Dr. Sam Sevier, who afterwards 
removed with her to Alabama. Of the Governor's broth- 
ers, Abram lived about ten miles north of Livingston, and 
Joseph near the mouth of Ashburn's creek. Among his 
sons and daughters there were Catherine Campbell, whose 
second husband was Archibald Ray; Joanna Windle and 
Valentine Sevier, who lived on Iron's Creek; Mary Over- 
street, who lived on Obeds River; George W. Sevier, who 
lived on Sulphur Creek, and afterwards removed to Nash- 
ville ; Sarah Brown, who lived at the James McMillan place ; 
and Ann Corlin, who lived on Ashburn's Creek." 


Governor Sevier lay buried in the soil of Alabama from 
September 24, 1815, to June 19, 1889, nearly seventy-four 
years. Mrs. Katherine Sherrill Sevier also found a resting 
place in Alabama but for a period longer than her husband 
— from October 2d, 1836, to 1917 — eighty years. She has 
not the same overwhelming claim upon the gratitude of 
Tennessee that her husband had, but her claims are great, 
both historical and personal. She was the wife of John 
Sevier, and in the Indian Wars which brought the savag- 
ery of the savage to her very cabin door, she did the part 
of a heroine, and showed a courage that never quailed and 
a devotion to neighbors and settlers on the Nollichucky 
and Watauga, as great, in a woman's way, as that supreme 
devotion of "Chucky Jack" who gave himself and his for- 
tune to subdue the Red Man, and make possible a white 
man's civilization west of the Alleghany Mountains. 

In Statuary Hall in the Capitol at Washington we hope 
to see the day when marble effigies of Andrew Jackson 
and John Sevier shall constitute Tennessee's contribution 

228 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee; History 

to the National Hall of Fame; but what a grand and in- 
spiring dream it is that some day we may see "Bonny 
Kate's" marble effigy standing in Statuary Hall beside her 
husband, so that generations yet to come may see the great- 
est couple — husband and wife — that ever took their heroic 
way across the pages of history! 

Search the world over and all the written words that 
tell of nations dead and gone, call forth from the tombs of 
buried heroes every spirit that ever glorified humanity by 
glorious deeds, and none can stand upon more inspiring 
heights, or extort to the uttermost the supreme affection 
of men and women, as can that man and wife whom the 
mountains of East Tennessee gave to civilization and the 
world ! 

By the Act of Congress establishing Statuary Hall, each 
State is allowed in it two representatives only — whether 
sons or daughters. Illinois has put Frances E. Willard 
there. But with Jackson and Sevier there for Tennessee, 
why cannot we have a Statuary Hall in our Capitol at Nash- 
ville, and after bringing back the remains of "Bonny Kate" 
and interring them beside her husband in the courthouse 
yard at Knoxville, place her statue in our Statuary Hall? 
Or, if not that, why not erect out of marble from the moun- 
tains whence they came a splendid monument on Capitol 
Hill in Nashville to John and Katherine Sherrill Sevier? 

It is a cloud upon the manhood and a humiliation upon 
the womanhood of Tennessee that John Sevier's wife sleeps 
her last sleep in the soil of another State. 


Down to the time that the monument was erected to 
Governor Sevier in the courthouse yard at Knoxville after 
his remains were brought back to Tennessee, it was gen- 
erally, indeed almost universally, thought that no monu- 
ment had ever* been erected to the Governor in Tennessee; 
but this is a mistake. In the old City Cemetery at Nash- 
vill is a granite shaft about twelve feet high erected by 
Colonel A. W. Putnam, one-time President of the Tennes- 
see Historical Society. This monument was erected about 
1856 at the personal expense of Colonel Putnam, and on the 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 229 

eastern face is carved a wreath and crossed swords, and un- 
der these are an Indian tomahawk and a bunch of arrows. 
The monument bears the following inscription : 


Noble and Successful 

Defender of the early 

Settlers of Tennessee, 

The first and for Twelve 

Years Governor 

Representative in 


Commissioner in many 

Treaties with the 

Indians. He Served His 

Country Forty Years 

Faithfully and Usefully 

And in that service died. 

An Admirer of 

Patriotism and Merit 

Unrequited Erects This. 

On the base is inscribed the names of the workmen 


230 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 



General Evan Shelby 

Died December 4, 1794. 

Aged Seventy-four years. 

Here lies the body of Letitia Shelby 
Died September 6, 1797, aged 52 years. 

These two inscriptions recall General Evan Shelby, one 
of the great heroes of pioneer days in America, who is 
buried in East Hill Cemetery in Bristol, Tennessee, and his 
wife, Letitia Shelby, who is buried at Charlottesville, Vir- 

The light upon the record of General Evan Shelby is 
not that clear white light that we desire so much in con- 
nection with historical characters we admire; all that we 
know, which is not a very great deal, about General Shelby 
leads to the conclusion that he was one of the strongest 
and finest characters of the early days in Virginia and Ten- 
nessee. He was a Welshman by birth and descent, and was 
born in Wales in 1720, and when small was brought by his 
father to America and settled in Maryland near the North 
Mountain. Much the larger part of what we know about 
him comes from his great-grandson, Dr. Charles Todd, and 
the statements here made are based upon what Dr. Todd 
has said about his great-grandfather. 

General Shelby possessed a strong mind, and an iron 
constitution, and was possessed of great perseverance and 
high courage. He took part in the French and Indian Wars, 
which commenced in 1754, and was appointed Captain in 
the Provincial Army that was sent against Fort DuQuesne ; 
he fought in a number of battles in Braddock's war. In 
1772 he removed to the Western waters, and he located at 
King's Meadow, in what is now Bristol, Tennessee, and 
there engaged in the raising of cattle. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 231 

In 1774 Lord Dunmore, of Virginia, directed an ex- 
pedition against the Indians, and instructed General An- 
drew Lewis, who in 1756 constructed Fort Loudon in what 
is now Monroe County, Tennessee, to raise four regiments 
for the purpose, and on September 11, 1774, the regiments 
were in motion and reached Point Pleasant, on the Ohio 
River and there fought the Battle of Point Pleasant, also 
called the battle of Kanawha. General Shelby was Cap- 
tain, and his son, Isaac Shelby, was Lieutenant of a com- 
pany of fifty Tennesseans, in which James Robertson, Val- 
entine Sevier, and John Sawyers were sergeants. They left 
upper East Tennessee and travelled twenty-five days 
through an unbroken wilderness and took part in this bat- 
tle, in which Colonel Lewis was killed, and the command of 
the regiment devolved on General Shelby. The battle last- 
ed all day, and resulted in a treaty by which the Indians sur- 
rendered all of their lands south of the Ohio River. 

This action was the entry of the pioneers into a series 
of conflicts, skirmishes and battles that lasted for years, 
and in which they were finally victors; and therefore the 
names of the fifty men in Captain Evan Shelby's company 
should if possible be perpetuated. They are: 

James Shelby, John Sawyers, John Findley, Henry 
Span, Daniel Mungle, Frederick Mungle, John Williams, 
John Camack, Andrew Torrence, George Brooks, Isaac 
Newland, Abram Newland, George Ruddle, Emanual 
Shoatt, Abram Bogard, Peter Forney, William Tucker, 
John Fain, Samuel Vance, Samuel Fain, Samuel Handley, 
Samuel Samples, Arthur Blackburn, Robert Handley, 
George Armstrong, William Casey, Mack Williams, John 
Stewart, Conrad Nave, Richard Burk, John Riley, Elijah 
Robertson, Rees Price, Richard Holliway, Jarrett Williams, 
Julius Robison, Charles Fielder, Benjamin Graham, An- 
drew Golf, Hugh O'Gullion, Patk. St. Lawrence, James 
Hughey, John Bradley, Basileel Maywell, and Barnett 

James Robertson and Valentine Sevier, Jr., come down 
to us credited with saving from destruction the force that 
had gone to Point Pleasant to repulse the Indians. 

232 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Robertson and Sevier got up early on the morning of 
October 10, 1774, and went out to hunt, and discovered 
the Indians prepared to make an attack, and they aroused 
their companions, and the battle was on. 

Cornstalk and Logan commanded the Indians. The 
whites lost probably more than the Indians in this battle, 
their losses being placed at seventy-five men killed or mor- 
tally wounded, and one hundred and forty slightly wound- 
ed. It is probable that the loss of the Indians was not so 
great, but the Indians were broken by their defeat, and 
peace was made by treaty. All of the chiefs came to the 
council where the treaty of peace was being considered 
except Logan, and he was communicated with through ; a 
messenger. To this messenger Logan made a speech, and 
the messenger took it down, and it has been recited as one 
of the finest pieces of Indian eloquence on record. It is 
well worth recording again. 


"I appeal to any white man to say if ever he entered 
Logan's cabin hungry, and he gave him not meat; if ever 
he came cold and naked, and he clothed him not? 

"During the course of the last long and bloody war, 
Logan remained idle in his camp, an advocate for peace. 
Such was my love for the whites, my countrymen pointed 
as I passed and said : 'Logan is the friend of the white 
man.' I had even thought to have lived with you, but for 
the injuries of one man. Colonel Cresap, the last spring in 
cold blood and unprovoked, murdered all the relatives of 
Logan, not even sparing my women and children. There 
runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living crea- 
ture. This called on me for revenge. I have sought it, and 
have killed many. I have fully glutted my vengeance. For 
my country I rejoice at the promise of peace; but do not' 
harbour the thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan 
never felt fear; he will not turn on his heel to save his 
life. Who is there to mourn for Logan? No one!" 

That battle was one of the most severely contested in 
all the warfare with the Indians, and the number on each 
side was more nearly equal than in any other battle where 
white men and Indians were engaged. 

General Shelby was appointed in 1776 by Governor Pat- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 233 

rick Henry of Virginia a Major in the army commanded 
by Colonel Christian against the Cherokees. 

In 1777 he led an expedition of Tennesseans against 
the Chickamauga Indians on the Tennessee River, and cap- 
tured and destroyed their towns and crops and killed their 
cattle. His son, Isaac Shelby, is credited with furnishing 
the army transportation and supplies for this expedition 
on his personal credit. 

In 1779, the line between Virginia and North Carolina 
having been determined, and General Shelby having been 
included in the State of North Carolina, he was appointed 
by Governor Caswell of North Carolina a Brigadier Gen- 
eral, and was the first officer of that grade west of the 


Time came when Bristol, Tennessee, was to be enlarged 
and needed new streets, and the street was opened through 
the cemetery where General Shelby was buried, and we 
will let an old citizen of Bristol tell what was done, in his 
letter to the author: 

"About the year 1870, when Fifth Street, Bristol, Ten- 
nessee, was opened, it became necessary to remove the 
bodies in a small cemetery adjoining the First Presbyterian 
Church. In this cemetery were the remains of General Evan 
Shelby. Interested parties removed the remains of their 
own dead, but General Shelby's bones were taken up and 
placed in a common box and were locked up in the city 
calaboose but a few steps away for safekeeping. Just how 
long they remained there, I do not know. I was just a 
boy of thirteen years, and remember distinctly of having 
the skull in my hands. The bones were then reinterred in 
the East Hill Cemetery, which is located in the States of 
Virginia and Tennessee. General Shelby's remains now 
sleep in the soil of old Virginia, and his grave is now cov- 
ered with the same iron slab that was placed on his grave 
when he was first buried." 

A flood of unhappy reflections surge over us as we read 
this pitiful story. All our pride of race and of the achieve- 
ments of the great dead the w r orld over, dissolves into empty 
nothingness, and we are face to face with the gloomy vision 
of the utter littleness of man. All of the splendor of life, 
and the sweet prestige of place and power, find an ignoble 

234 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

end in a boy of thirteen years handling a resurrected skull, 
and that skull once a part of one who loved and fought for 
his fellowman. Forgotten his long and weary tramps 
through the unbroken wilderness ; forgotten his battles that 
the savagery of the Red Man might be crushed, and the 
progress of the white man prove triumphant; forgotten 
his willingness to lay down his life, and his four great sons 
theirs along with him, that frontier women might not be 
outraged, nor their children burned at the stake; forgot- 
ten all his grand and fearless manhood that vied with 
Achilles, the Homeric Greek, in all that proves the heroic 
in man ; and without a friend to decently care for his bones, 
taken from their resting place of nearly a century, and 
placed in a common box, and locked up in a city prison, 
sooner or later to be buried again ! 

Alexander Pope's lines cover the bitter story: 

"How loved, how honored once, avails thee not ; 
To whom related, or by whom begot; 
A heap of dust alone remains of thee ; 
'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be." 

And if the mighty Wizard of Avon, the gentle Shake- 
speare, who rare Ben Johnson said was "not of an age, but 
for all time," could have passed that city prison in Bris- 
tol, in 1870, he would have doubtless recalled the scene his 
genius penned for the world where the grave-digger threw 
up the skull of "Poor Yorrick;" or, he might have applied 
to General Evan Shelby, "in death a hero and in life a 
friend," those other bitter lines : 

"Oh, mighty Caesar! dost thou lie so low? 
Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils, 
Shrunk to this little measure?" 

And if these words' of his he did not think sufficient to 
illuminate the utter pitifulness of the prison scene before 
him the mighty Wizard could have called back the wisdom 
of his melancholy Dane, Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, 
where he apostrophizes his dear friend, Horatio: 

"To what base uses may we return, Horatio? 
Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alex- 
'Til we find it stopping a bung-hole?" 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 235 

No monument marks General Shelby's burial place, and 
no more inspiring opportunity could be offered to the 
Daughters of the American Revolution to take in hand, as 
they have so successfully done in various other instances, 
the erection of a monument over his grave. He, himself, 
did grand service for pioneer America, and his sons did 
even more than he; he founded a family that, historically, 
is one of the great American families ; his descendants can 
point to patriotic acts all along the line of their ancestry, 
from the French and Indian Wars, down to the time when 
the ascendency of the white man was no longer disputed, 
and when his aims, aspirations and ideals dominated the 
western world, and the red man had taken up his retreat 
to practical extinction. 


So far as the records show, General Shelby had four 
sons, namely: Col. Isaac Shelby, Gen. Evan Shelby, Jr., 
Capt. Moses Shelby, and James Shelby, and in order that 
the contribution of the Shelby family to pioneer history 
may be understood, it will be necessary to set out the record 
of each of these. 

Colonel Isaac Shelby was born near the North Moun- 
tain, Maryland, where his father first located as an immi- 
grant on coming from Wales abount the year 1735 — Colonel 
Shelby's birthday being December 11, 1750. The exact 
date when his father moved to King's Meadows, Bristol, 
Tennessee, is not clear, but we find Isaac Shelby raising 
and herding cattle there in 1771, and it is probable that the 
Shelby family moved there in that year. In 1774 Isaac 
Shelby received a commission from Colonel William Pres- 
ton, the County Lieutenant of Fincastle, and it is upon the 
occasion of the receipt of the commission that the anec- 
dote has come down to us that his father thinking Isaac, 
who had remained seated in the presence of the Colonel, 
was not showing the proper respect to Colonel Preston, 
said, "Get up, you dog, you, and make your obeisance to the 
Colonel!" Whereupon Isaac arose and extended the proper 
courtesy. He was Lieutenant in his father's company in 
the battle of Point Pleasant, October 10, 1774, and he re- 

236 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

mained upon garrison duty there until July 1775. Follow- 
ing this he was engaged in surveying land for Henderson 
and Company in Kentucky, and in 1776 he was commis- 
sioned a Captain, and in 1777 Commissary of Supplies for 
the frontier garrisons; he rendered service as Commissary 
also for the Continental Army. Showing his calibre and 
nerve, in the year 1779, he pledged his personal credit for the 
supplies for his father's troops on the expedition to crush the 
Chickamauga Indians, and this was the second time he 
pledged his personal credit to equip an army, the first being 
in conjunction with John Sevier in borrowing money to 
equip the expedition to King's Mountain. 

In 1779 he was elected a member of the Virginia Leg- 
islature, and the same year appointed a Major by Governor 
Thomas Jefferson. In 1780, receiving the message from 
Col. Charles McDowell begging for aid against the enemy, 
Shelby raised two hundred men and engaged the enemy 
at Thicketty Fort, Cedar Springs, and Musgrove's Mill. 
These engagements led up to the Battle of King's Mountain, 
and the Colonel's part in that battle is shown in the chap- 
ter devoted to King's Mountain. The Legislature of North 
Carolina passed a resolution extending thanks and a sword 
to both Colonel Shelby and John Sevier. After King's 
Mountain, upon the request of General Greene, Shelby and 
Sevier took five hundred men to join the General and they 
participated in a number of engagements before returning 
to Tennessee. About this time he was elected a member of 
the North Carolina Legislature, and became a member of 
that body. In 1782 he was again elected a member of the 
North Carolina Legislature, and in 1783 he left Tennessee 
to make his home in Kentucky, where he lived until the 
time of his death. In April 1782, he married Susanna, the 
daughter of Captain Nathaniel Hart, and he settled near 
Stanford, Kentucky. 

He was a member of the first convention to secure the 
separation of Kentucky from Virginia, and in May, 1792, 
he was chosen as the first Governor of Kentucky, and served 
a four years' term. He was three times upon the Demo- 
cratic electoral ticket, and supported Thomas Jefferson. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 237 

When the War of 1812 broke out, he was again elected as 

In recognition of their services to the country at the 
Battle of the Thames, the Congress of the United States 
voted a gold medal to Major General William Henry Har- 
rison and one to Isaac Shelby, and by resolution approved 
April 4, 1818: 

"Resolved that the thanks of Congress be and they are 
hereby presented to Major General William Henry Harri- 
son and Isaac Shelby, late Governor of Kentucky, and 
through them to the officers and men under their com- 
mand, for their gallantry and good conduct in defeating 
the combined British and Indian forces under Major Gen- 
eral Proctor on the Thames in Upper Canada on the 5th 
of October 1813, capturing the British Army with their 
baggage, camp equipage and artillery. And that the Pres- 
ident of the United States be requested to cause two gold 
medals to be struck, emblematical of this triumph and pre- 
sented to General Harrison, and Isaac Shelby, late Gov- 
ernor of Kentucky." 

In 1818 President James Monroe appointed him Sec- 
retary of War, but he declined to serve, on account of his 
age. In 1818 he was associated with Andrew Jackson as 
a Commissioner in treating with the Chickasaw Indians 
for the cession by them of West Tennessee, and his mis- 
sion was successful. He died on July 18, 1826. 

General Evan Shelby, Jr., fought as a Major in the 
regiment of his brother, Colonel Isaac Shelby, at the Bat- 
tle of King's Mountain, and received DePeyster's sword on 
his surrender. He served as a volunteer at the battle of 
the Cow Pens, and in 1781 under his brother in South Car- 
olina. He settled on Red River where Clarksville is now 
located, and on January 18, 1793, he was killed by the In- 
dians while in a boat on the river. Phelan records that Evan 
Shelby, Jr., was made Brigadier General of the North 
Carolina Militia, and the problem of settling the trouble in- 
cident to the rise of the State of Franklin was devolved 
upon him as a representative of North Carolina. He en- 
tered upon negotiations with Governor John Sevier, and 
on March 20, 1787, he and the Governor agreed upon ar- 
ticles of compromise which in effect recognized both the 

238 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

State of Franklin and the State of North Carolina, in the 
territory west of the mountains. 

Captain Moses Shelby served as Captain in Colonel Isaac 
Shelby's regiment at King's Mountain, and was twice 
wounded in that battle, and he served at the siege of Sa- 
vannah, Ga., in 1779, and at the battle of the Cow Pens, 
and at the capture of Augusta in 1781. He settled in Mis- 
souri where he died on September 17, 1828, at the age of 

James Shelby was a captain in the command of Gen- 
eral George Rogers Clarke, and was killed by the Indians. 

General Evan Shelby Sr.'s wife, Mrs. Letitia Shelby, 
died seventeen years before her husband, and there is no 
positive information whether General Shelby married 
again, but the tradition is that he did, after his children 
were all grown, and moved away to various States. 

It is rare in American history to find a man giving not 
only his own services, but those of four sons in the mili- 
tary service of his country, but that is what General Shel- 
by did. At the Battle of King's Mountain there were seven 
Seviers engaged on the side of the mountain men. This, 
the record of the' Seviers, is probably unparalleled in the 
history of the country. 


One of the things in our early history that we love to 
linger over is the long unbroken friendship between the 
Sevier and Shelby families. Those early days constitute 
the heroic era in Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky and North 
Carolina, and the task before the leaders called forth mar- 
velous courage, patience, patriotism and devotion — every 
great and lofty quality human nature can exhibit under 
circumstances of danger, terror, blood and slaughter. Twin 
jewels in Tennessee's history are the two families named, 
and never, in all the records of men, have any families 
shown more resplendently every quality that both exalts 
and adorns human nature. 

While General Evan Shelby, Sr., was twenty-five years 
older than John Sevier, they were personal friends in Vir- 
ginia, before either of them moved to Tennessee, and both 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 239 

were Captains in the Virginia line. It was upon Shelby's 
invitation that Sevier came to King's Meadows at Bris- 
tol, Shelby's home, and this visit led to Sevier's becoming a 
citizen of Tennessee. In 1772, General Shelby, Isaac Shelby 
and John Sevier went on horseback to the Watauga, to 
the home of James Robertson, and that was the first time 
either of the three had met Robertson, and they were en- 
tertained at his home. At this time General Shelby was 
past fifty years of age, Isaac was twenty-one and John 
Sevier twenty-six. 

When Samuel Phillips bore Major Patrick Ferguson's 
war-like message to Isaac Shelby, it was John Sevier that 
Shelby rode forty or fifty miles to see and consult and to 
devise ways and means to destroy Ferguson's forces. 

When the time came to fight the Battle of King's Moun- 
tain, and money had to be supplied to equip the expedition 
of the mountain men, it was John Sevier and Isaac Shelby 
who jointly made themselves responsible to John Adair, 
Entry-taker of Sullivan County, North Carolina, for $12,735, 
which Adair had in his possession, and which belonged to 
North Carolina, and which he loaned to Shelby and Sevier 
for the purpose of equipping the expedition. 

When Evan Shelby, Jr., had been appointed Brigadier- 
General of the North Carolina militia, and there had been 
put in his hands the delicate negotiations of making peace 
between North Carolina and the young State of Frank- 
lin, of which John Sevier was Governor, he and the Gov- 
ernor met at the house of Samuel Smith on March 20, 1787, 
and, old and faithful friends that they were, it did not take 
them long to agree upon a compromise that brought peace to 
the disturbed border. 

A critical search of the lives of the Seviers and the 
Shelbys in every available source of information fails to 
discover the slightest trace of antagonism, jealousy, or 
rivalry, or, anything but loyal friendship through years 
of warfare and danger that were capable of testing the iron 
in the make-up of the best of men; and hence it is that 
in the Pantheon of Tennessee's good and great and strong, 
in the Hall of our Immortals, where we transmit their 

240 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

memory to the posterity of all coming years, we can, in the 
swelling pride of a great Commonwealth, proclaim to the 
world our exultation in the records which the Seviers and 
Shelbys gave to the history of the world in what was then 
the outpost of civilization in the valley of East Tennessee. 


a .A 

S a 
■S • 

■"3 .S 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 241 



It was a significant inscription on the monument erect- 
ed by the three Chapters of the Daughters of the American 
Revolution at Sycamore Shoals, commemorating the as- 
sembling of the mountain men there to cross the Unakas 
to fight Ferguson. It must have been a very animated and 
interesting scene on that September v25th, 1780. It is im- 
possible to tell just how many persons were there. It would 
be very entertaining to know all that was done by the as- 
sembled soldiers and citizens. It must go without saying 
that the dress of both the women and the men was a pioneer 
dress of make and fabric. There must have been shoeing 
of horses, and final consultations between friends and fam- 
ilies, and numbers of women and children and horses and 
dogs, and great bustle and animation over the departure. 
The Watauga River which this assemblage was to render 
historical in the annals of Tennessee flowed by. Roane 
Mountain was in the distance; and stretching away is the 
beautiful Watauga Valley. The fort is there, and John 
Sevier on a fine horse, such as he always rode, and ''Bon- 
nie Kate," and the Reverend Samuel Doak, in his white 
stockings, and, let us hope, minus that intolerable skull- 
cap with which his appearance has been disfigured in the 
picture that has come down to us. Nowhere on earth is a 
September morning more divinely perfect than at Syca- 
more Shoals, in Carter County, Tennessee, and nowhere 
has nature more lavishly poured out her beauties. 

Isaac Shelby has done his part, and has brought two 
hundred and forty men, John Sevier has brought two hun- 
dred and forty men, and Colonel Campbell has brought two 
hundred men, and before the grand start was made for 
the mountains, the glad spectacle was observed of Arthur 
Campbell coming with two hundred more from Washing- 
ton County, Virginia. There were about one hundred and 
sixty of Colonel McDowell's men there. These mountain 
men were not troubled with baggage; each man's entire 

242 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

equipment was a blanket, a tin cup, a wallet of parched 
corn meal mixed with maple sugar, and now and then a 
man had a skillet or a bowie knife. The weapon was the 
Deckard rifle with its thirty-inch barrel. It was on Tues- 
day, the 26th of September, 1780, that the Reverend Sam- 
uel Doak made some stirring remarks, such as would be ex- 
pected upon a war-like occasion like that, and which he 
closed with the words of the quotation on the D. A. R. 
monument, "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon.'.' A 
few beeves were started with the march as food for the 

But how came these men to assemble at Sycamore 
Shoals? To answer this question we must advert to one 
Patrick Ferguson, who signed his official communications, 
"Major 71st Regiment," and who was in the service of 
His Majesty George III, King of the United Kingdom 
of Britain and Ireland and Defender of the Faith. 
Major Ferguson mistakenly assumed that a threat made 
by him would strike terror to the hearts of the mountain 
men in the western country, and accordingly he sent a 
prisoner, one of the mountain men, Samuel Phillips by 
name, and a relative of Colonel Isaac Shelby, to take a 
message to the men of the western waters of Watauga, 
Nollachucky, and the Holston, and that message was about 
as bloody and warlike as words could make it. He instruct- 
ed Phillips to say that "if they did not desist from their 
opposition to the British arms, he would march his army 
over the mountains and hang their leaders, and lay their 
country waste with fire and sword." But this threat 
wrought results that Major Ferguson was far from ex- 
pecting. Instead of striking terror, it aroused the lion in 
the men of the mountains. Instead of humbly submitting, 
they determined not only to cross the mountains, but to 
kill Ferguson and to exterminate Jiis army, and they did 

Samuel Phillips, the bearer of the message, will live as 
long as the memory of Ferguson lives who sent it, and 
as long as the memory of Isaac Shelby lives who received 
it. Phillips lived near Isaac Shelby, and of course went 
direct to him to report Major Ferguson's words, and Shel- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 243 

by at once started on horseback on a trip of forty or fifty 
miles to a horse race near Jonesboro to see John Sevier, 
and with him to concert measures that were to be carried 
out. Shelby wrote in 1823 : 

"I went fifty or sixty miles to see Colonel Sevier, 
who was the efficient Commander of Washington Coun- 
ty, North Carolina, and to inform him of the mes- 
sage I had received, and to concert with him measures 
for our defense. After some consultation we deter- 
mined to march with all the men we could raise, and 
to attempt to surprise Ferguson by attacking him in his 
camp, or at any rate, before he was prepared for us. We 
accordingly appointed a time and place of rendezvous. 

"It was known to us that some two or three hundred 
of the militia had been under the command of Colonel Mc- 
Dowell, and were driven by the success of the enemy from 
the lower country and were then on the western waters, 
and mostly in the County of Washington, North Carolina. 
I saw some of their officers before we parted ; Colonel Se- 
vier engaged to give notice to these refugees, and to bring 
them into our measure. On my part I undertook to pro- 
cure the aid and co-operation of Colonel William Campbell 
of Washington County, Virginia, and the men of that coun- 
ty, if practicable." 

Colonel Shelby does not state, nor is it of any historical 
value to know, which of the two suggested that they should 
not wait for Ferguson to come to the western waters, but 
that they go across the mountains and whip him on his 
own ground. We do know that Shelby went to the horse- 
race and concerted with Sevier measures for the common 
defense, and that taking the aggressive, and carrying the 
fight to Ferguson was the result of the conference. If 
we were left to guess at the matter, we would probably 
guess that Sevier was the one who first made the sugges- 
tion to go after Ferguson. We know that Sevier intro- 
duced into America the tactics of quick, sharp, decisive 
assault, not waiting for the enemy to come, but going after 
the enemy before he arrived; in this kind of warfare he 
shines as one of the greatest figures in the military annals 
of any country. His counterpart was Napoleon's Marshal, 
Murat, who never waited for an enemy to come to him. 

It was a bold thing for the mountain men to stake 
their skill, courage, and endurance against Major Fergu- 

244 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee; History 

son's well-trained and well-equipped force, but they did not 
hesitate a moment, and after the force arrived in North 
Carolina, within striking distance of Ferguson, when the 
officers directed that any man who did not wish to enter 
the fight should step to the rear, not a man moved, not one 
declined to fight. On the trip across the mountains, there 
were two deserters, James Crawford and Samuel Cham- 
bers, from whom Ferguson obtained the information that 
it would "be unnecessary for him to go after the moun- 
tain men, that they were coming after him, and that he 
must fight on the defensive, and not on the aggressive. 

It must be borne in mind that not a man who went to 
King's Mountain was paid for his service or expected any 
pay. North Carolina's conduct with the western people 
excites almost any sentiment except admiration and re- 
spect. The mountain men went simply because they did 
not propose to yield allegiance to George III, and Patrick 
Ferguson was George Ill's representative, and they made 
up their minds that Patrick Ferguson should die ; but some- 
body had to feed the army and provide equipment, and 
here again, as in many other instances, the grand lib- 
erality and patriotism of John Sevier and Isaac Shelby 
showed itself. John Adair was Entry-taker in Sullivan 
County and had in his official possession $12,735.00, which 
belonged to the State of North Carolina. Sevier applied 
to him for the money, and guaranteed that he and Isaac 
Shelby would be bound for its repayment. Adair's answer 
was worthy of the man and of the occasion. The money 
in his hands was practically all the money there was in 
that territory. He said to Sevier: "Colonel Sevier, I have 
no right to make any such disposition of this money; it 
belongs to the impoverished treasury of North Carolina, 
but if the country is overrun by the British, liberty is gone 
— let the money go too. Take it. If by its use the enemy 
is driven from the country, I can trust that country to jus- 
tify and vindicate my conduct — take it." This money was 
repaid, just as any one would expect who knew Isaac Shel- 
by and John Sevier, and the historian of Tennessee, Dr. 
J. G. M. Ramsey, ran across the receipt in a deserted house 
in Knoxville: 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 245 

"Received January 31st, 1782, of Mr. John Adair, En- 
try-taker in the County of Sullivan, $12,735.00, which is 
placed to his credit on the Treasury books. 

"Per Robert Lanier, 
12,735 Dollars. "Treas. Salisbury Dist." 

The history of two British officers always generates 
a profound interest in American readers : one General Pack- 
enham, who met his death at the hands of Andrew Jack- 
son's soldiers at the Battle of New Orleans, and the other 
Major Patrick Ferguson, in His Majesty's service at King's 

Patrick Ferguson was a Scotchman, born in Aberdeen- 
shire in 1744, entered the British Army as a cornet at the 
age of fifteen, serving in the wars of Flanders and of Ger- 
many, saw active duty, and always acquitted himself as 
a gallant and determined soldier. He was a military man 
by nature and preference, and a bright, intellectual man, 
capable of honoring the profession of arms. He served a 
while at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and while in America he 
heard a great deal of the skill of Americans in the use of 
the rifle. Being a man of inventive genius, he invented a 
breechloading rifle with which he could shoot with more 
precision than with the old kind. He was a fine marksman, 
and ranked as one of the best, if not the very best, in the 
British Army, and was equally skilful in the use of the 
rifle or the pistol. He gave exhibitions of his skill and ac- 
curacy in shooting. He was sent to America to take part 
in the Revolutionary War in 1777, and joined the Brit- 
ish Army under Sir Henry Clinton, and participated in 
the Battle of Brandywine. 

In personal appearance he was not commanding, being of 
middle stature, and of slender make, but he seems to have 
had great personal magnetism. He was a born command- 
er and absolutely fearless. In all the history of battles no 
commander ever behaved more gallantly than did Ferguson 
at the Battle of King's Mountain, and while succeeding 
generations rejoice that he was defeated, there are none, 
we take it, but who sincerely admire his conduct on that 

When Colonel Shelby wrote his first letter to Colonel 
William Campbell of Washington County, Virginia, ask- 

246 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

ing him to join in the expedition that he and Sevier had 
agreed upon, Colonel Campbell declined. Colonel Shelby's 
letter was sent by his brother, Captain Moses Shelby, who 
also brought the answer. Campbell said that he was going 
to the southern border of Virginia to oppose the advance 
of Lord Cornwallis when he moved from North Carolina 
into the State of Virginia. 

Shelby immediately wrote a second letter to Campbell, 
and sent this by the same messenger, Captain Moses Shel- 
by, and at the same time, he wrote a letter to Colonel Ar- 
thur Campbell, a brother-in-law of Colonel William Camp- 
bell, informing him of what Ferguson had threatened to 
do, and telling of Colonel McDowell and his party being 
driven from North Carolina, and compelled to take refuge 
with the mountain men in East Tennessee. The two Camp- 
bells conferred on the gravity of the situation, and agreed 
that they would co-operate with Shelby and Sevier, and 
they sent a message to Colonel Cleveland of Wilkes County, 
North Carolina, to inform him that the western men were 

In the fight at King's Mountain, the Seviers and the 
Shelbys did their full part. Seven Seviers took part in the 
battle. John Sevier had two sons, Joseph, the oldest who 
was about eighteen years old, and James, his second son, 
who was sixteen years of age, lacking from the 7th to the 
25th of October, both privates; he also had four brothers. 
Captain Valentine Sevier, and Captain Robert Sevier, who 
was shot in battle and died on the way home, and Abra- 
ham and Joseph Sevier, both privates. Colonel Shelby had 
two brothers, Major Evan Shelby and Captain Moses Shel- 
by in the battle. Captain Shelby was wounded. 

The battle was fought on October 7th, 1780, in the af- 
ternoon, and just one week before that, namely, on Octo- 
ber 1st, 1780, Major Ferguson, who evidently was becom- 
ing a little nervous about whether he could successfully 
repulse the mountain men, issued an address as follows : 

"To the Inhabitants of North Carolina : 

"Denard's Ford, Broad River, 
"Tryon County, October 1, 1780. 
"Gentlemen : Unless you wish to be eaten up by an in- 
undation of barbarians, who have begun by murdering an 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 247 

unarmed son before the aged father, and afterwards lopped 
off his arms, and who by their shocking cruelties and ir- 
regularities give the best proof of their cowardice and want 
of discipline — I say, if you wish to be pinioned, robbed and 
murdered, and see your wives and daughters in four days 
abused by the troops of mountain men — in short, if you 
wish, or deserve to live, and bear the name of men, grasp 
your arms in a moment and run to camp. 

"The Back Water men have crossed the mountain; Mc- 
Dowell, Hampton, Shelby and Cleveland are at their head, 
so that you know what you have to depend upon. If you 
choose to be degraded forever and ever by a set of mon- 
grels, say so at once, and let your women turn their backs 
upon you, and look out for real men to protect them. 

'Tat. Ferguson, Major 71st Regiment." 

We cannot endorse everything that Major Ferguson 
sets out in his communication, but we must admit that in 
his capacity for using striking phrases, and appealing to 
the fears of men, he had very pronounced efficiency. 

Another evidence that Ferguson was not certain of vic- 
tory against the mountain men is that on Friday morning 
October 6, he sent an appeal to Lord Cornwallis at "Char- 
lotte for help : 

"My dear Lord : A doubt does not remain with regard to 
the intelligence I sent Your Lordship. They are since joined 
by Clark and Sumter, and of course are become an object 
of some consequence. Happily their leaders are obliged 
to feed their forces with such hopes and so to flatter them 
with accounts of our weakness and fear that if necessary, 
I should hope for success, but, numbers compared, that 
must be doubtful. 

"I am on my march toward you, my route leading from 
Cherokee Ford north of King's Mountain. Three or four 
hundred good soldiers, part dragoons, would finish the 
business. Something must be done soon. This is their last 
push in this quarter, etc. 

"Patrick Ferguson." 

When the mountain men were within a mile or two 
of King's Mountain, a boy by the name of John Pounder, 
was met, riding in great haste, and, upon suspicion of 
his mission, was captured and searched, and upon him was 
found a dispatch from Ferguson to Lord Cornwallis, in- 
dicating anxiety as to his situation, and calling for help 

248 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

to be sent him as soon as possible. This boy told the moun- 
tain men that Ferguson was wearing a checked shirt or 
duster, over his uniform. 

For some reason not explained, Ferguson changed his 
course and instead of joining Cornwallis at Charlotte, took 
his position on the top of King's Mountain, to await the 
coming of the mountain men, and he there made some very 
vigorous boasts about the force and power it would take 
to drive him from that mountain. 

An English military critic said that King's Mountain 
was a strong position to defend with a bayonet, and a weak 
position to defend with a rifle. The top of the mountain 
was without trees, and Ferguson's army, therefore, was vis- 
ible from all sides. The slopes leading to the top were 
heavily timbered, and the mountain men could shoot from 
behind trees, and have ample protection, and this fact is 
the key to their success in the fight. Ferguson was ac- 
customed to rely upon the bayonet, and his men made some 
brilliant bayonet charges down the sides of the mountain, 
but were unable to end the battle in that way. The moun- 
tain men picked his men off, one by one, until finally their 
strength was so depleted that they were able to make a 
charge up the sides and gain a footing on the top, from 
which they could meet the British face to face and man to 

It is not the purpose here to give a detailed descrip- 
tion of the battle, which has been very ably done by L. C. 
Draper and Theodore Roosevelt. The purpose here is to lay 
before the reader those conditions leading up to the bat- 
tle, and conditions at the battle, which made victory pos- 
sible for the mountain men, in the face of the location of 
Ferguson's force, which seemed to be absolutely invulner- 

The number of men engaged on the two sides cannot 
be stated with absolute accuracy. Among the mountain men 
it was probably from nine hundred to nine hundred and 
fifty, and Major Ferguson's force was something like eleven 
hundred. But this nine hundred to nine hundred and fifty 
men did not constitute all of the available forces the moun- 
tain men had. At Quaker Meadows, the home of Colonel 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 249 

Charles McDowell, three hundred and fifty North Carolina 
militia under Colonel Benjamin Cleveland joined the moun- 
tain forces. 


Colonel Cleveland was a rough pioneer with kindly 
instincts, if let alone, but in the acrid warfare between 
Whig and Tory in North Carolina, he being an uncompro- 
mising Whig leader, led a perilous life, and if written in 
full his life would make very interesting reading. Like Ajax, 
the son of Telamon, he did not know r what fear was. He 
was more than six feet in height, and at the Battle of 
King's Mountain he weighed two hundred and fifty pounds, 
and had immense physical strength and power. He was a 
dead shot with a rifle, rode a horse well, and while he had 
little education, he was a man of naturally strong mind. 
His hatred of Royalists and Tories was unrestrained, and 
amounted to a consuming passion. He and his Whig friends, 
during the short period of the domination of Royalists and 
Tories in North Carolina, suffered much, and the iron en- 
tered their souls deep ; and when it came the time of him 
and the Whigs to wreak vengeance, there was no limit to 
his ferocity. Like all family quarrels and civil wars, the 
strife between Whig and Tory in North Carolina was the 
very bitterest. Murders, house-burnings, destruction of 
stock, cropping of ears, and every species of cruelty and 
recrimination were indulged in. There were fine streaks 
in Colonel Cleveland, rough and extreme as he frequently 
was. History has generally given the verdict that he did 
not give his enemies very much worse than they tried to 
give him. For a number of years before he died he became 
so large and unwieldy that he could not mount a horse, and 
he died while eating his breakfast, in October, 1806, in 
his sixty-ninth year. His daughter married General Thom- 
as J. Rusk who was a United States Senator from Texas 
for ten years. Colonel Cleveland is buried on his old plan- 
tation in North Carolina. 


Ordinarily when soldiers fight in battle there is no per- 
sonal ill will between the contending forces, therefore, kill- 

250 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

ing a man in battle has never been considered murder in 
its usually accepted meaning; but at the Battle of King's 
Mountain, the element of personal hatred and ill will en- 
tered the contest everywhere, and men fought and killed 
because they personally hated and wanted to kill the op- 
posing forces. 

In "Horse Shoe Robinson" John P. Kennedy gives a 
vivid picture of this personal animosity at the battle: 

"All hopes of escape being thus at an end, a white flag 
was displayed in token of submission, and the remnant of 
Ferguson's late proud and boastful army, now amounting 
to between eight and nine hundred men, surrendered to 
the assailants. 

"It has scarcely ever happened that a battle has been 
fought in which the combatants met with keener individ- 
ual exasperations than in this. The mortal hatred which 
embittered the feelings of Whig and Tory along this bor- 
der here vented itself in the eagerness of conflict, and gave 
the impetus to every blow that was struck — rendering the 
fight from beginning to end relentless, vindictive and 
bloody. The remembrance of the thousand cruelties prac- 
ticed by the Royalists during the brief Tory dominion to 
which my narrative has been confined, was fresh in the 
minds of the hardy men of the mountains who had pur- 
sued their foe with such fierce animosity to this, his last 
stage. Everyone had some wrong to tell, and burned with 
an unquenchable rage of revenge. It was therefore with 
a yell of triumph that they saw the symbol of submission 
raised aloft by the enemy, and for a space the forest rang 
with their loud and reiterated huzzas. 

"Many brave men fell on either side. Upon the slopes 
of the mountain, and upon its summit the bodies of the 
dead and dying lay scattered among the rocks, and the fee- 
ble groans of the wounded mingled with the fierce tones of 
exultation from the living. 

"The Whigs sustained a grievous loss in Colonel Wil- 
liams, who had been struck down in the moment of victory. 
He was young, ardent, and brave ; and his many soldierlike 
virtues combined with a generous, amiable temper had ren- 
dered him a cherished favorite with the army. His death 
served still more to increase the exacerbation of the con- 
querers against the conquered. 

"The sun was yet an hour high when the battle was 
done. The Whigs were formed in two lines on the ridge 
of the Mountain, and the prisoners, more numerous than 
their captors, having laid down their arms were drawn 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 251 

up in detached columns on the intervening ground. There 
were many sullen and angry glances exchanged during this 
period of suspense between victors and vanquished ; it was 
with a fearful rankling of inward wrath that many of the 
Whigs detected in the columns of the prisoners some of 
their bitterest persecutors." 

On October 6th it was concluded that there should be 
selected picked men who were well mounted, and who had 
the best rifles, and nine hundred and ten were chosen, and, 
shortly after nine o'clock at night started on an all night 
ride to get Ferguson, and some footmen followed the horse- 
men, and reached King's Mountain in time to take part in 
the battle, making probably nine hundred and fifty men alto- 
gether in the battle. There was not a bayonet in the ranks of 
the mountain men. The battle began at about three o'clock 
in the afternoon, and the period of its duration is variously 
given from fifty to sixty-five minutes. Ferguson had two 
horses killed under him, and his last move before he dropped 
from his horse was directely toward a portion of Colonel 
John Sevier's men, and he thus became a clear mark for 
their guns, and several fired, when he fell from his horse 
with six or seven bullets in him. Gilleland was one of Se- 
vier's men, and had been shot when he saw Ferguson ad- 
vancing, and tried to kill him, but his gun snapped, and he 
called out to Robert Young of the same regiment, "There's 
Ferguson — shoot him!" "I'll try and see what Sweet-Lips 
can do," replied Young as he drew his rifle, taking sharp 
aim and fired. A number of Sevier's men claimed the honor 
of having killed Ferguson, and it is very likely that they 
all told the truth, from the number of bullets that entered 
him. It seems to be absolutely certain that he was killed 
while he was in the region of Sevier's men. 

One Robert Young was grantee, owner and resident of 
the land now the Reservation of the Mountain Branch Na- 
tional Soldiers' Home, just west of Johnson City, and the 
probability is that he was the same Robert Young who shot 
Major Ferguson. 

In the official report it was given that in the battle 28 
Americans were killed, 60 wounded. Ramsey places Fer- 
guson's losses at 225 killed, 180 wounded, 700 taken pris- 

252 AndreV Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

oner, and 1,500 stands of arms, and horses and wagons load- 
ed with supplies. 


The modern military leader, accustomed to the equip- 
ment of our day, would look with unfeigned interest upon 
a regiment of men clad in the attire of the mountain men 
that fought and won at King's Mountain. They would look 
very curious with their coonskin caps, or an old hat with 
a buektail around it, and with a rifle, and, it may be, a toma- 
hawk or a scalping knife. The trappings of their horses 
— where they had trappings — might have been stained with 
some glaring color, like red or yellow, and the hunting 
shirt which was worn by both officers and men, probably 
had fringes about it or was tasseled, and was gathered at 
the waist by some kind of ornamental belt. Undeniably 
they were picturesque. And equally certain it is that this 
costume, so highly prized by our pioneer ancestors, has 
passed away, and is to be met with only in old pictures and 
engravings of that early day. Ramsey quotes from Mr. 
Custis an interesting photograph of the hunting shirt: 

''The hunting shirt, the emblem of the Revolution, is 
now banished from the national military, but still lin- 
gers among the hunters and pioneers of the Far West. This 
national costume was adopted in the outset of the Revolu- 
tion and was recommended by Washington to the Army 
in the most eventful period of the War of Independence. 
It was a favorite garb with many of the officers of the line. 
The British beheld these sons of the mountain and the for- 
est thus attired, with wonder and admiration. Their hardy 
looks, their tall, athletic forms, their marching in Indian 
file with the light and noiseless step peculiar to their pur- 
suit of woodland game, but, above all, to European eyes, 
their singular and picturesque costume, the hunting shirt, 
with its fringes, wampum belts, leggins and moccasins, the 
tomahawk and knife; these, with the well known death- 
dealing aim of these matchless marksmen, created, in the 
European military, a degree of awe and respect for the 
hunting shirt which lasted with the War of the Revolution. 
And should not Americas feel proud of the garb, and hail 
it as national, in which their fathers endured such toil and 
privation in the mighty struggle for independence — the 
march across the wilderness — the triumphs of Saratoga 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 253 

and King's Mountain? But a little while, and of a truth, the 
hunting shirt, the venerable emblem of the Revolution, will 
have disappeared from among the Americans, and will be 
found only in museums, like ancient armour, exposed to the 
gaze of the curious." 

Dr.Ramsey wrote his "Annals of Tennessee" in 1852, 
and he tells us that the hunting shirt, while largely gone out 
of use, was still worn in his day. He says : 

"In Tennessee, the hunting shirt is still worn by the vol- 
unteer, and occasionally forms the costume of the elite 
corps of a battalion or regiment. It once constituted, very 
commonly, a part of the citizen's dress. It is now seldom 
seen in private life, though admirably adapted to the come- 
liness, convenience and comfort of the farmer, hunter and 
pedestrian. In all of the early campaigns of the West and 
in the war of 1812, the soldiery uniformly wore it. Many 
of them did so in the war with Mexico, but the volunteer's 
hunting shirt is evidently going out of use." 


After the battle was over, the mountain men feared 
pursuit by Lord Cornwallis, and on the next day they start- 
ed on the return trip home, loaded down with the care 
of seven or eight hundred prisoners and all the arms and 
military plunder captured from Ferguson. The prisoners 
and the plunder were started to a place of safety in Vir- 
ginia. Sevier and the Tennesseans began the march across 
the mountains. Campbell, Shelby and Cleveland passed 
through Hillsboro, North Carolina, where General Gates 
had his headquarters, and to him they made the official re- 
port of the battle, and signed it, and it will be observed 
how free the report is from apportioning the honors of the 
victory to any one of the Colonels in the fight: 


"A Statement of the proceedings of the Western Army 
from the 25th of September, 1780, to the reduction of 
Major Ferguson, and the army under his command. 

"On receiving intelligence that Major Ferguson had ad- 
vanced as high up as Gilbert Town, in Rutherford County, 
and threatened to cross the mountains to the Western wa- 
ters, Col. William Campbell with four hundred men from 

254 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Washington County, of Virginia; Col. Isaac Shelby, with 
two hundred and forty men from Sullivan County, North 
Carolina, and Lieutenant-Colonel John Sevier, with two 
hundred and forty men from Washington County, North 
Carolina, assembled at Watauga on the 25th of Septem- 
ber, where they were joined by Col. Charles McDowell, 
with one hundred and sixty men from the counties of Burke 
and Eutherford, who had fled before the enemy to the West- 
ern waters. 

"We began our march on the 26th, and on the 30th we 
were joined by Col. Cleveland, on the Catawba River, with 
three hundred and fifty men from the counties of Wilkes 
and Surry. No one officer having properly the right to the 
commander-in-chief, on the first of October we despatched 
an express to Major General Gates, informing him of our 
situation, and requesting him to send a general officer to 
take command of the whole. In the meantime, Col. Camp- 
bell was chosen to act as commandant till such general offi- 
cer should arrive. 

"We reached the Cow Pens on the Broad River in South 
Carolina, where we were joined by Col. James Williams, on 
the evening of the 6th October, who informed us that the 
enemy lay encamped somewhere near the Cherokee Ford 
of Broad River, about thirty miles distant from us. By a 
council of the principal officers, it was then thought advis- 
able to pursue the enemy that night with nine hundred of 
the best horsemen, and leave the weak horses and footmen 
to follow as fast as possible. We began our march with 
nine hundred of the best men about eight o'clock the same 
evening, marched all night, and came up with the enemy 
about three o'clock, p. m. of the 7th, who lay encamped 
on the top of King's Mountain, twelve miles north of the 
Cherokee Ford, in the confidence that they could not be 
forced from so advantageous a post. Previous to the at- 
tack, in our march, the following disposition was made : 

"Col. Shelby's regiment formed a column in the center 
on the left; Col. Campbell's another on the right; part of 
Col. Cleveland's, headed by Major Winston and Col. Se- 
vier's, formed a large column on the right wing; the other 
part of Col. Cleveland's regiment composed the left wing. 
In this order we advanced, and got within a quarter of a 
mile of the enemy before we were discovered. Col. Shelby's 
and Col. Campbell's regiment began the attack, and kept 
up a fire on the enemy while the right and left wings were 
advancing forward to surround them. The engagement 
lasted an hour and five minutes, the greatest part of which 
time a heavy and incessant fire was kept up on both sides. 
Our men in some parts where the regulars fought, were 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 255 

obliged to give way a small distance two or three times, but 
rallied and returned with additional ardour to the attack. 
The troops upon the right having gained the summit of 
the eminence, obliged the enemy to retreat along the top 
of the ridge where Col. Cleveland commanded, and were 
there stopped by his brave men. A flag was immediately 
hoisted by Captain Dupoister, the commanding officer, (Ma- 
jor Ferguson having been killed a little before) for a sur- 
render. Our fire immediately ceased, and the enemy laid 
down their arms — the greater part of them loaded — and 
surrendered themselves to us prisoners at discretion. It 
appears from their own provision returns for that day, 
found in their camp, that their whole force consisted of 
eleven hundred and twenty-five men, out of which they 
sustained the following loss: Of the regulars, one major, 
one captain, two lieutenants and fifteen privates killed, thir- 
ty-five privates wounded. Left on the ground, not able to 
march, two captains, four lieutenants, three ensigns, one 
surgeon, five sergeants ; three corporals, one drummer, and 
fifty-nine privates taken prisoners. 

"Loss of the tories, two colonels, three captains, and 
two hundred and one privates killed; one major and one 
hundred and twenty-seven privates wounded and left on the 
ground not able to march ; one colonel, twelve captains, elev- 
en lieutenants, two ensigns, one quartermaster, one adju- 
tant, two commissaries, eighteen sergeants and six hun- 
dred privates taken prisoners. Total loss of the enemy, 
eleven hundred and five men at King's Mountain. 

"Given under our hands at camp. 

"William Campbell, 

"The loss on our side — 
"Killed— 1 colonel, 
1 major, 

1 captain, 

2 lieutenants, 
4 ensigns, 

19 privates. 

28 total killed. 
"Wounded — 1 major, 

3 captains, 
3 lieutenants, 
53 privates. 

60 total wounded." 

Isaac Shelby, 
Benjamin Cleveland. 

256 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

An incident in the battle which all Tennesseans and ad- 
mirers of the Sevier family should never forget, is the con- 
duct of young Joe Sevier, then about eighteen years old, 
who heard that his father, Colonel John Sevier, had been 
killed in battle, which report doubtless arose and was circu- 
lated because Captain Robert Sevier had been shot, and 
finally died. Joe kept firing on Ferguson's men when prac- 
tically everybody else had stopped, and some of the soldiers 
told him to stop, and Joe replied with tears running down 
his cheeks : "The damn rascals have killed my father, and 

I'll keep on shooting until I kill every of of them." 

Colonel t Sevier, about that time, came up, and his son dis- 
covered the mistake and ran up and threw his arms around 
his father's neck, and, of course, did not shoot any more. 

Another incident which occurred after the battle, and 
which will interest North Carolinians generally, and espe- 
cially those who had ancestors in the fight, was the ride 
of twelve miles of Margaret Ewart Adams on an unruly stal- 
lion to the battlefield of King's Mountain in search of her 
husband, William Adams, who fought in the American 
army. She was the great-great-grandmother of Miss Mar- 
garet Gist, Historian of King's Mountain Chapter, Daugh- 
ters of the American Revolution, of York, South Carolina. 

Mrs. Adams and William Adams were Scotch-Irish 
Presbyterians and Whigs to the core. The day of the bat- 
tle, she being at home alone with only one colored servant, 
and knowing of the engagement, was, of course, very much 
concerned for the safety of her husband. Failing to re- 
ceive any news that day of the result of the battle, her 
anxiety increased to such an extent that the next morning 
she resolved to go to King's Mountain, twelve miles dis- 
tant. She had the old negro servant on the place to saddle 
the only riding animal left, the balance of the stock having 
been hid in the swamp to put them out of the way of the 
Tories, and this animal was a stallion which she had the 
courage and determination to ride, and did ride, to the 
battlefield ; and to her great joy she there found her hus- 
band safe and unhurt. With other good women of the neigh- 
borhood she proceeded to do all that was in her power to 
help take care of the wounded. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 257 

This dangerous and picturesque ride of this fearless and 
patriotic North Carolina woman deserves a better fate 
than to pass into oblivion, and it is introduced here not only 
to attempt to memorialize her and her ride, but to add a 
touch of attractive color to the narrative of the events of 
that day which so profoundly concerned both North Caro- 
lina and Tennessee. 


On July 1st, 1822, Colonel George W. Sevier published 
in the Nashville Gazette four letters written by Colonel Isaac 
Shelby to Governor John Sevier which touched upon the 
battle of King's Mountain, and Colonel Campbell's part in 
that battle, and these letters, doubtless without such an in- 
tention on the part of Colonel Sevier, raised a storm, and 
entered into the politics of the day in the State of Ken- 
tucky. The controversy that arose from the letters is in- 
teresting historically. 

On January 1, 1880, Colonel Shelby wrote to Governor 
Sevier the first letter in reference to King's Mountain, in 
which he said: 

"The Legislature of Virginia, shortly after the defeat 
of Ferguson upon King's Mountain in 1780, voted an ele- 
gant horse and sword to be presented to Colonel William 
Campbell as a testimony of the approbation which his coun- 
try bore towards him on account of the part that he had 
borne in that memorable affair. The horse was delivered to 
him, but owing to neglect or some other cause, the sword 
was not presented to him before he died. I am lately in- 
formed that the friends of Colonel Campbell not long since 
have made application to the Legislature of that State for 
the sword — that they voted the sum of 1,500 crowns for the 
purchase of the most elegant sw r ord that could be procured 
in France, and through our Minister in Paris a most su- 
perb sword was obtained which was presented by the gov- 
ernment of Virginia to young John Preston, a grandson of 
Colonel Campbell, as an honorable reward due to the mem- 
ory of his ancestor. 

"Now, sir, what did Campbell merit more than you and 
I did? It is a fact well known, and for which .he apologized 
to me the day after the action, that he was not within less 
than a quarter of a mile of the enemy at the time they 
surrendered to you and myself. But I do not mean to de- 

258 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

tract from the honors of the dead, yet it is a fact I have told 
to many, both before and since his death." 

On February 24th, 1810, Colonel Shelby wrote a second 
letter to Governor Sevier in which he said : 

"At the time I wrote to you on this subject I had but 
just heard of the fine sword given by the State of Virginia 
to a descendant of the late Colonel Campbell, and for a 
moment I felt a degree of indignation and resentment that 
my country had attributed the achievement of the victory 
of King's Mountain to a man who had little share in the 
action, and it determined me to address a letter to you on 
the occasion. * * * It may be fairly stated that the 
great body of the men that crossed the mountains on that 
expedition were raised and embodied by your and my own 
united exertions." 

On August 12, 1812, Colonel Shelby, being at that time 
a candidate for Governor of Kentucky, wrote a third letter 
to Governor Sevier in w T hich he said : 

"I shall be elected Governor by a majority of at least 
ten thousand votes. Among other falsehoods that were cir- 
culated against me, it was said that I was not in the ac- 
tion at King's Mountain, and by some that I was only a 
Lieutenant, or some inferior officer on that occasion, and 
this story had gained some credit among better informed 
people. The object of this letter is to request you to be 
so obliging as to state to me in a letter as early as con- 
venient, the station in which I commanded in the expedi- 
tion against Ferguson. You know that the expedition was 
concerted by you and myself and that it took some address 
to induce Campbell and his men to join us." 

The publication of these letters aroused the descendants 
of Colonel Campbell and they made answer in the public 
prints of the day, and a newspaper controversy followed, 
and each side produced statements from survivors of the 
King's Mountain battle, which were duly given to the public. 

In April 1823, Colonel Shelby published a pamphlet re- 
viewing the controversy in full, and made the additional 
charge as follows : 

"About ten o'clock on the day after the battle I was 
standing alone about forty yards south of the spot where 
Colonel Campbell came to me after the surrender, enjoy- 
ing the warmth of the sun — for I had been very wet the 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 259 

day before, and was exposed to the cold dew of the moun- 
tains all night — when I saw Colonel Campbell leave the line 
of guards that surrounded the prisoners and walk slowly 
toward me, with his sword under his arm, till he came near 
touching me; he then in a lower tone of voice than usual, 
and with a slight smile on his countenance made the fol- 
lowing expression : 'Sir, I cannot account for my conduct 
in the latter part of the action.' " 

In a letter to Colonel Shelby dated January 17, 1810, 
Governor Sevier said : 

"It is true Colonel Campbell was not within one-quarter 
of a mile when the enemy surrendered to yourself and me. 
Without detracting from the merits of Colonel Campbell, 
there were other officers in the battle of King's Mountain 
that merited as much notice from their country as himself." 

In another letter dated August 27, 1812, to Colonel Shel- 
by Governor Sevier said: 

"It is well known you were in the heat of the action. I 
frequently saw you animating your men to victory; at the 
surrender you were the first field officer I recollect to have 
seen. I have no doubt you must recollect Colonel Campbell 
was some considerable distance from that place at that 
time, and that you and myself spoke on that subject the 
same evening." 

Further details of the controversy need not be given, 
and the reader who is curious enough to pursue it further 
can do so in the different histories written of King's Moun- 
tain. That a controversy of this kind would raise a very 
active and even virulent quarrel goes without saying, and 
so this one turned out to be. 

260 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 



The Battle of King's Mountain was fought on Saturday, 
October 7, 1780, and the Americans on Sunday began their 
march homeward; there was little time, therefore, for the 
burial of the dead and caring for the wounded. There were 
two very urgent reasons why they started so soon on their 
journey: the first was, that for two days and nights they 
had had very little to eat, neither horses nor men, and the 
second, the news that Colonel Tarleton was on his way, and 
they were not ready for a second battle. For the disposal 
of the many dead, pits were dug and the slain placed in 
them, with blankets thrown over them, and covered with 
earth, the work of burial for both American and British 
being very hurriedly performed; and besides that, some 
of the bodies were not found and therefore not buried at 
all; as a result, the smell of flesh and blood soon attracted 
wolves to King's Mountain where they had access to the 
unburied bodies and scratched up those that were depos- 
ited in the shallow graves; vultures began to scent the 
bodies, and they came and took part with the wolves, and 
history records that long after that men hunting wolves went 
to King's Mountain. Knowing these conditions it is not sur- 
prising that everybody except the wolf hunter avoided 
King's Mountain, and that it grew to be a heavily wooded, 
avoided, deserted spot. The fact that human bones were 
there that had never had a burial, and others that had been 
scratched up by the wolves, was a barrier against its be- 
coming a place to visit. 

Major Ferguson was also buried on the mountain, and 
his remains lie there to-day, and in reference to his burial, 
Draper, who generally is the most thorough and accurate 
of all the historians of King's Mountain, gives a tradition 
of long standing: 

"It was probably where he was conveyed, and breathed 
his last, that he was buried — on the southeastern declivity 
of the mountain, where his mortal remains, wrapped, not 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 261 

in a military cloak, or hero's coffin, but in a raw beef hide, 
found a peaceful sepulture. 

"The tradition in that region has been rife for more 
than fifty years, that Ferguson had two mistresses with 
him, perhaps nominal cooks — both fine looking young wom- 
en. One of them, known as Virginia Sal, a red haired lady, 
it is related, was the first to fall in the battle, and was 
buried in the same grave with Ferguson, as some assert; 
or, as others have it, beside the British and Tory slain; 
while the other, Virginia Paul, survived the action; and 
after it was over, was seen to ride around the Camp as un- 
concerned as though nothing of unusual moment had hap- 
pened. She was conveyed with the prisoners at least as 
far as the Burke Court House, now Morganton, North Caro- 
lina, and subsequently sent to Lord Cornwallis' army." 

And so the situation remained for almost thirty-five 
years, until 1815, when Dr. William McLean, of Lincoln 
County, North Carolina, caused a day to be set apart and 
the human bones on the Mountain to be reinterred, and at 
his own expense caused a monument of dark slate rock to 
be erected which bore inscriptions which are now hardly 
legible as follows: 

On the east side: "Sacred to the memory of Major Wil- 
liam Chronicle, Captain John Mattocks, William Robb, and 
John Boyd, who were killed at this place on the 7th of Octo- 
ber, 1780, fighting in defense of America." 

On the west side: "Colonel Ferguson, an officer of his 
Brittanic Majesty, was defeated and killed at this place on 
the 7th of October, 1780." 

Dr. McLean made an address upon this occasion. 

In 1855, which was seventy-five years after the battle, 
a celebration was had commemorating the effect of the vic- 
tory there and its being universally considered the turning 
point of the American Revolution ; addresses were made by 
the Honorable George Bancroft, the American historian, 
and General John H. Preston. 

The King's Mountain Battleground Association in 1880 
caused another monument to be erected. This association 
was composed of prominent patriotic citizens of both North 
and South Carolina. The cost of the monument was twenty- 
eight hundred dollars, of which the Legislature of North 
Carolina contributed one thousand dollars, and the Legis- 

262 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

lature of South Carolina one thousand dollars, and the bal- 
ance was personal contributions. This Association also ac- 
quired the title to the battlefield, which contains thirty-nine 
and a half acres of land. The monument was unveiled on 
October 7, 1880, the one hundredth anniversary of the bat- 
tle. It is built of granite, with a base eighteen feet square, 
and a height of twenty-eight feet; the top of the shaft is 
two and one-half feet square, and is large enough to receive 
an addition, or to have erected upon it a statue. At the un- 
veiling, a Centennial celebration was held, where thousands 
of people assembled, and an address was made by the Hon- 
orable John W. Daniel, at one time Governor and United 
States Senator of Virginia, and poems read by Paul Ham- 
ilton Hayne and Mrs. Clara Dargan McLean. 

Sometime after this, Major A. H. White, of Rock Hill, 
South Carolina, caused a square granite pillar to be erected 
at his own expense, at the spot where Ferguson fell, and 
also provided a similar marker at the place where Ferguson 
was buried. 


To King's Mountain Chapter, Daughters of the Amer- 
ican Revolution, of York, South Carolina, is due the credit 
for the erection of the thirty thousand dollar monument by 
the United States government on the King's Mountain bat- 
tlefield, which was completed and dedicated on Friday, 
October 8, 1909, one hundred and twenty-nine years and 
one day after the battle was fought. The following letter 
will be read with interest by the Daughters of the Ameri- 
can Revolution throughout the United States : 


"York, S. C, July 21, 1917. 
"Your letter requesting information and pictures of 
the King's Mountain monument erected in 1909 has been 
referred to me by Mr. A. S. Sally, the Secretary of our 
Historical Commission. I am the historian of the King's 
Mountain Chapter D. A. R., and shall take pleasure in giv- 
ing you the desired data. I am sending you by registered 
mail a postcard with some facts concerning the monument; 

Monuments on King's Mountain. 

1. Granite pillar erected by Major A. H. White, Rock Hill, South Carolina, at his personal 


2. Centennial Monument erected by North and South Carolina and private individuals 

and unveiled October 7, 1880. 

3. Monument erected by United States Congress and dedicated with imposing ceremonies 

in 1909. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 263 

I send also a copy of the Yorkville Enquirer of October, 
1909, giving a full account of the dedication of the monu- 
ment, copiously illustrated, with addresses by Dr. Snyder, 
Representatives Finley and Webb, et al. The idea of hav- 
ing the United States government erect this monument 
originated with the King's Mountain Chapter, and was car- 
ried out entirely through the untiring interest and efforts 
of Representative D. E. Finley of the Fifth Congressional 
District of South Carolina, and of Representative A. Y. 
Webb, of North Carolina. In the Enquirer Mr. Finley gives 
a history of the King's Mountain monument — a copy of 
which I send you — and there is also an address on "Three 
Great Battles." It may be of interest to state that Mr. Fin- 
ley was for eighteen years a representative of his District 
in Congress, and had been re-elected for the tenth term in 
August 1916, when his death occurred January 1917. He 
was my brother-in-law. I think you will find in the material 
sent all that you could find on the subject. The paper is a 
valuable historical document, and I am glad to be able to 
furnish you with a copy. 

"Very truly yours, 

"(Miss) Margaret A. Gist, 
"Historian King's Mountain Chapter D. A. R., 
York, S. C." 

Some time prior to 1903 one or more members of the 
King's Mountain Chapter, D. A. R., took up the matter 
with their Congressman, Honorable D. E. Finley, of pro- 
curing an appropriation from Congress to erect a monu- 
ment. On October 8, 1909, Congressman Finley made pub- 
lic in the Yorkville, S. C, Enquirer a full statement of how 
the movement to erect the Congressional monument was 
finally brought to a successful conclusion. He said : 

"The old King's Mountain Battleground Association 
had become disorganized, and it was necessary that the 
same be reorganized in order to perfect the title. The late 
Judge I. D. Witherspoon, one of the two or three survivors, 
took this matter in charge and the reorganization as car- 
ried out embraces in its membership the membership of 
the King's Mountain Chapter D. A. R., of Yorkville, South 
Carolina, the owners of the battlefield at this time. At the 
first session of the 58th Congress, after consultation with 
Representative E. Y. Webb of North Carolina, who has al- 
ways been greatly interested in all that pertains to the 
history of this most important battle, on February 8th, we 
prepared and introduced identical bills in the House of Rep- 

264 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

resentatives. The bill introduced by me is numbered 11,958, 
and the one introduced by Mr. Webb is numbered 11,959. 
Mr. Speaker Cannon, while always friendly, could not see 
his way clear at that time to let the measure pass. So that 
nothing came of these bills in the 58th Congress. 

"In December 1905, the first session of the 59th Con- 
gress, identical bills were introduced by Representative 
Webb and myself. At the same time, there was pending in 
the House, two other bills, one for the erection of a mon- 
ument on the battlefield of Princeton, in the State of New T 
Jersey, and the other, a bill to provide a suitable memorial 
of the landing of the Pilgrims on Cape Cod. Speaker Can- 
non, after being importuned by the advocates of the three 
bills, finally promised that he would let these three bills 
pass. When I was asked by a member of the committee as 
to whether I wished the bill introduced by me, which was 
identical with that introduced by Mr. Webb, to be re- 
ported, I stated that Mr. Webb and myself were jointly 
interested, and had worked together, and while I had 
the right to have the bill introduced by me reported, 
for the reason that the battlefield, proper, was over the line 
in South Carolina, yet in order to be entirely fair, I sug- 
gested that the committee report a bill in the nature of a 
substitute for the bill introduced by Mr. Webb, and the one 
introduced by me. Accordingly this was done, and Repre- 
sentative Thomas, of North Carolina, a member of the Com- 
mittee on the Library, made the report, April 10th, 1906. 
The bill as reported carried thirty thousand dollars. The 
three bills mentioned were passed by unanimous consent 
at the first session of the 59th Congress. The bill for King's 
Mountain was called up by Mr. Webb." 

The mountain range called King's Mountain is ten or 
twelve miles long, and at the battlefield is not over seventy- 
five feet high. The foundation of the monument is a cube 
twenty-four feet each way, and the base is thirteen and 
one-half feet each way, and is of granite, and upon it stands 
a shaft eighty-four feet four inches high. There are four 
panels containing the names of those who spilled their blood 
in the battle, and they are as follows : 

East Panel: "Killed— Col. James Williams, Major Wil- 
liam Chronicle, Capt. Wm. Edmundson, Capt. Jno. Mattocks, 
1st Lieut. Wm. Blackburn, 1st. Lieut. Reege Brown, 1st. 
Lieut. Robt. Edmundson, Jr., 2nd. Lieuts. John Beatie, 
James Carry, Nathaniel Dryden, Andrew Edmundson, 
Humberson Lyon, Nathaniel Gist, James Phillips, Privates 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 265 

John Bicknell, John Boyd, John Brown, David Duff, Pres- 
ton Goforth, Henry Henigar, Michael Mahoney, Arthur Pat- 
terson, Wm. Rabb, John Smart, David Sisle, Wm. Steele, 
Wm. Watson, Unknown." 

"Mortally Wounded — Capt. Robt. Sevier, 1st. Lieut. 
Thos. McCullough, 2nd. Lieut. James Laird, Private Moses 

"Wounded — Lieut. Col. Frederick Hambright, Major 
Mician Lewis, Major James Porter, Captains James Dysart, 
Sam'l Estey, Minor Smith, 1st. Lieuts. Robt. Edmundson, 
Jr., Samuel Johnson, Samuel Newell, J. M. Smith, Privates 
Benoni Danning, Wm. Bradley, Wm. Bullen, Jno. Childers, 
John Chittem, Wm. Cox, John Fagon, Fredic Fisher, Wm. 
Giles, Gilleland, Wm. Gilmer, Chas. Gordon, Israel Hat- 
ter, Robt. Henry, Leonard Hyce, Jas. Kilcor, Robt. Miller, 
Wm. Moore, Patrick Murphey, Wm. Robertson, Jno. Skeggs, 
Thirty-six unknown." 

North Panel : On the north side the beautiful bronze tab- 
let bearing the following inscription: "To commemorate 
the victory of King's Mountain October 7th, 1780, erected 
by the government of the United States to the establishment 
of which heroism and patriotism of those who participated 
in this battle so largely contributed." 

South Panel: On the south, the beautiful bronze tablet 
containing an inscription in beautiful and well chosen words 
commemorative of the valor and patriotism of those en- 
gaged in this great struggle : "On this field the patriot forces 
commanded by Col. Wm. Campbell attacked and totally de- 
feated an equal force of Tories and British Regular Troops. 
The British Commander, Col. Patrick Ferguson, was killed 
and his entire force was captured after serving heavy loss. 
This brilliant victory marked the turning 'point of the Amer- 
ican Revolution." 

West Panel: On the w r est side a beautiful bronze tablet 
perpetuating the history of the commanders of the forces, 
and the localities from which their brave followers were as- 
sembled, and the commanders of each: 

"American forces, where organized : 
"Washington County, Virginia, Col. Wm. Campbell. 
"Washington County, N. C, (now Tennessee) , Col. Jno. 

"Sullivan County, N. C, Col. Isaac Shelby. 

266 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"Ninety-Six District, S. C, and Rowan County, N. C, 
Col. James Williams. 

"Wilkes and Surrey Counties, N. C, Col. Benjamin 
Cleveland and Major Joseph Winston. 

"Lincoln County, N. C, Lieut. Col. Frederick Hambright 
and Major Wm. Chronicle. 

"Burke and Rutherfordton Counties, N. C, Major Joseph 

"York and Chester Counties, S. C, (then part of Cam- 
den district), Col. Edward Lacy and Col. William Hill. 

"Georgia, Major Wm. Candler. 

"Reserves: Col. Jas. Johnson. 

"Note: Col. Chas. McDowell, the regular commander 
of the Burke and Rutherfordton County regiment was ab- 
sent from the battle on a special mission to General Gates. 

"British forces — Commanders: Major Patrick Fergu- 
son (K), Captain Abraham De Peyster." 

The monument is erected to the south of the spot where 
Ferguson fell. 


The dedication of the Congressional monument on Octo- 
ber 7, 1909, was a great event in both North and South 
Carolina, and ten thousand citizens from the two States 
showed their interest in the occasion. There are five dif- 
ferent highways that lead to and across King's Mountain 
Battleground from different directions, and on the day of 
the dedication these highways were crowded with vehicles 
of every description, and hundreds of pedestrians on foot. 

Governor W. W. Kitchen of North Carolina and Gov- 
ernor Martin F. Ansel of South Carolina, United States 
Senators Lee S. Overman of North Carolina and E. D. Smith 
of South Carolina, Congressmen R. N. Page of the Seventh 
North Carolina District and D. E. Finley of the Fifth South 
Carolina District, many prominent members of the Daugh- 
ters of the American Revolution, and other distinguished 
men and women, were present. Seven companies of Nation- 
al Guard were encamped on the battleground. Hundreds 
of citizens occupied tents in which they spent the night pre- 
ceding the dedication. Governor Martin F. Ansel presided. 
The Centennial Lyric that was used for the 1880 celebra- 
tion, and written by Mrs. Clara Dargan McLean, was sung 
by a choir that had been especially trained for the occa- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 267 

sion. The orator of the day was Dr. Henry N. Snyder, Pres- 
ident of Wofford College, S. C. Congressman E. Y. Webb 
of North Carolina and D. E. Finley of South Carolina spoke 
upon the subject "The United States." A greeting was sent 
from Mrs. Matthew T. Scott, President General of the 
Daughters of the American Revolution. Senator Overman 
and Senator Smith made addresses, and also Governor Kitch- 
en of North Carolina. 

The speeches, as was to be expected, exhibited a high 
type of oratory, and were reported in full in the Yorkville 
Enquirer of October 8, 1909 ; but only a small part of each 
can be given here. 

Dr. Snyder was the orator of the day, and he closed a 
masterly address with these words : 

"But Shelby, Sevier, Campbell, Cleveland, McDowell, 
Winston, Hambright, Lacy, Hill and Williams, with the men 
under them, had done far more than destroy Ferguson. 
Their victory sent Cornwallis from Charlotte back to Winns- 
boro, all but panic-stricken, freed the up-country of the 
horror and oppression of Tory rule, brought a new hope, 
courage and faith to the patriotic cause everywhere, and 
became the turning point of the Revolution, made York- 
town's glad day a near possibility. There may have been 
other battles in which more men were engaged, but none 
counted for more in its deep and far-reaching influence than 
that one which was here fought one hundred and twenty- 
nine years ago. It gave us the Imperial Republic and this 
glad hour." 

Congressman D. E. Finley, in part of his oration, said : 

"On the 7th of October 1780 the patriot forces came up 
with Ferguson encamped on this spot. I shall not under- 
take a description of the battle. It is sufficient for my pur- 
pose to say that the British were surrounded on all sides by 
the patriot forces and after hours of fighting, the fiercest 
and bloodiest of the Revolutionary War, Ferguson was slain, 
and his entire force either killed or captured. A detailed 
account of this battle would be simply a narrative of the 
unrivaled courage and heroic deeds of the great leaders 
whose names are to adorn this marble shaft, and the deeds 
of their equally brave and heroic forces. 

"The United States to commemorate their acts and deeds 
on this heroic spot has, by Act of Congress, ordered the 
erection of this monument; these men are worthy of all 

268 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

honor. The people of the United States are proud of the 
history they have made. 

"It has been truthfully stated that the battle of King's 
Mountain led to the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. 
After the battle of King's Mountain the gloom which had 
settled over the country lifted. After this, the American 
arms prospered as never before. * * * 

"It is interesting to compare our country to-day with 
what it was one hundred and twenty-nine years ago. Then 
we numbered three million inhabitants, scattered along the 
Atlantic Coast, from Georgia to the St. Lawrence River, 
thirteen colonies in all. Now, we number forty-six States, 
not including our territories, and a population that exceeds 
ninety million. Then we were a poor and struggling people. 
Now, the wealth of the United States equals that of any 
two nations of the world. Then we had not made good our 
claim to independence. Now, in all that makes a people truly 
great, the United States is the foremost and most powerful 
nation in the world. 

"What we are to-day as a people and as a nation we owe 
to the patriot fathers, and along with those who did the 
most for the cause of independence, the heroes of the Bat- 
tle of King's Mountain take high rank." 

Congressman E. Y. Webb of the Eighth Congressional 
District, closed his oration with these words : 

"All this wonderful progress, this marvelous growth, 
these phenomenal inventions and discoveries have taken 
place in our glorious Republic, whose foundation was laid 
in the storm and stress of a battle, the anniversary of which 
this concourse of people are here to commemorate to-day. 
This, therefore, is holy ground, and on approaching it one 
should feel instinctively that he should remove his hat and 
unlatch his shoes ; for here took place the decisive battle 
which sealed the destiny of unborn millions. God bless and 
keep the spirits of the stainless heroes who here fought and 
yielded their lives in such a country's noble cause! Brave, 
simple men ! Pure in motive, patriotic 'in action, gallant in 
battle, and glorious in death! 

"This magnificent shaft but feebly expresses our admira- 
tion of their deathless deeds, for could the loving and pa- 
triotic hearts before me to-day erect a monument in keeping 
with their sentiments, it would rise to the statue of pure 
gold and pierce the clouds, beyond the flight of bird or eagle ! 

"But yonder lofty lonely mountain peak will stand for- 
ever as a twin sentinel of the splendid government tribute 
in granite, to point the spot where American liberty first 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 269 

received its full inspiration, and drew its first full breath 
of life. 

"Let us emulate the lives of these noble men who fought 
and died and are buried here, bj^ placing our country's cause 
above every cause save that of God and home, let us re- 
consecrate our lives to this beautiful Republic, and deter- 
mine to make the land they won for us a garden of peace, 
of happiness, and of religious liberty!" 

Mrs. McLean's Centennial Lyric, composed for the cele- 
bration of 1880, was sung by a trained choir at this dedi- 
cation : 

"Here upon this lonely height, 

Born in storm, and bred in strife, 

Nursed by Nature's secret might, 

Freedom won the boon of life. 

Song of bird and call of kine, 

Fluttering life on every tree, 

Every murmur of the wind, 

Impulse gave to Liberty! 

Then she blew a bugle blast, 

Summoned all her yoemen leal, 
'Friends, the despot's hour is past — 

Let him now our vengeance feel!' 

Rose they in heroic might, 

Bondsmen fated to be free, 

Drew the sword of Justice bright, 

Struck for God and Liberty ! 

Come, ye sons of patriotic sires, 

Who the tyrant's power o'erthrew, 

Here where burned their beacon fires, 

Light your torches all anew, 

'Til this mountain's glowing crest, 

Signalling from sea to sea, 

Shall proclaim from East to West, 

Union, Peace and Liberty!" 

Bands of music discoursed throughout the exercises, and 
the celebration closed with the vast crowd singing the long 
meter doxology. The dedication was an immense success, 
and in every way worthy of the monument and this histori- 
cal event which it represented. 

Viewed as battles are now — contests between thou- 
sands or hundreds of thousands or even millions of men 
— the battle of King's Mountain was a small skirmish, 
as there were less than one thousand men on the American 

270 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

side, and not many more on the British ; but naturally we 
are intensely interested in the effect of this battle, which 
was so small in the number of men engaged ; and searching 
the authorities who have written about it, it is exceedingly 
interesting for Tennesseans, Virginians, North Carolinians 
and South Carolinians, to read the estimates placed upon it. 

Thomas Jefferson said: "That memorable victory was 
the joyful annunciation of that turn of the tide of success 
which terminated the Revolutionary War with the seal of 

In his "Field Book of the Revolution" Lossing says: 
"No battle during the war was more obstinately contested 
than this ; it completely crushed the spirits of the Loyalists, 
and weakened beyond recovery the royal power in the Caro- 

Washington Irving in his "Life of Washington" ex- 
pressed the opinion that "the Battle of King's Mountain, 
inconsiderable as it was in numbers, encouraged and turned 
the tide of southern warfare. The destruction of Fergu- 
son and his corps gave a complete check to the expedition 
of Cornwallis. He began to fear for the safety of South 
Carolina, liable to such sudden eruptions from the moun- 
tains, lest, while he was facing to the north, these hordes 
of stark-riding warriors might throw themselves behind him 
and produce a popular combustion in the province he had 
just left; he resolved, therefore, to return with all speed 
to that province and provide for its security." 

Bancroft expressed this opinion : "The victory at King's 
Mountain, which, in the spirit of the American soldiers was 
like the rising at Concord, and in its effects, like the success 
at Bennington, changed the aspects of the war. The Loyal- 
ists of North Carolina no longer dared arise. It fired the 
patriots of the two Carolinas with fresh zeal ; it encouraged 
the fragments of the defeated, scattered American army 
to seek each other and organize themselves anew. It quick- 
ened the North Carolina Legislature to earnest efforts; it 
encouraged Virginia to devote her resources to the country 
south of her border. The appearance on her frontiers of a 
numerous enemy from settlements beyond the mountains, 
whose very names had been unknown to the British, took 
Cornwallis by surprise, and their success was fatal to his 
intended expedition. He had hoped to step with ease from 
one Carolina to the other, and from those, to the conquest 
of Virginia ; and he had now no choice but to retreat." 

Theodore Roosevelt in "The Winning of the West" sums 
it up in this manner : "The mountain men had done a most 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 271 

notable deed. They had shown in perfection the best quali- 
ties of horse-riflemen, the hardihood and perseverance that 
had enabled them to bear up well under fatigue, exposure 
and scantly food. Their long, swift ride, and the suddenness 
of the attack took their foes completely by surprise. Then, 
leaving their horses, they had shown in the actual battle 
such courage, marksmanship, skill in woodland fighting, that 
they had not only defeated, but captured an equal number 
of well armed, well lead, resolute men in a strong position. 
The victory was of far-reaching importance, and ranks 
among the decisive battles of the Revolution. It was the 
first great success of the Americans in the south, the turn- 
ing point in the southern campaign, and it brought cheer 
to the patriots throughout the Union. The Loyalists of the 
Carolinas were utterly cast down and never recovered from 
the blow, and its immediate effect was to cause Cornwallis 
to retreat from North Carolina, abandoning his first inva- 
sion of that State. 

"The expedition offered a striking example of the in- 
dividual initiative so characteristic of the backwoodsmen. 
It was not ordered by any one authority ; it was not even 
sanctioned by the central or State governments. Shelby 
and Sevier were the two prime movers in getting it up ; 
Campbell exercised the chief command ; and the various 
other leaders with their men simply joined the mountaineers 
as they happened to hear of them, and came across their 
path. The ties of discipline were of the slightest. The com- 
manders elected their own Chief, without regard to rank 
or seniority; in fact, the officer who was, by rank, entitled 
to the place, was hardly given any share in the conduct of 
the campaign. The authority of the Commandant over the 
other officers, and of the various Colonels over their troops, 
resembled rather the control exercised by Indian chiefs 
over their warriors, than the discipline obtaining in a reg- 
ular army. But the men were splendid individual fighters 
who liked and trusted their leaders, and the latter were 
able, resolute, energetc and intelligent. 

'The mountaineers had come out to do a certain thing — 
to kill Ferguson and scatter his troops. They had done it, 
and now they wished to go home. The little log huts in 
which their families lived were in daily danger of Indian 
attack, and it was absolutely necessary that they should be 
on hand to protect them. They were, for the most part, very 
poor men, whose sole sources of livelihood were the stock 
they kept beyond the mountains. They loved their coun- 
try greatly and had shown the sincerity of their patriot- 
ism by the spontaneous way in which they risked their lives 

272 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

on this expedition. They had no hope of reward ; for they 
neither expected nor received any pay except in liquidated 
certificates worth two cents on the dollar. Shelby's share 

of these certificates as Colonel throughout 1780 and 

1781 was sold by him for 'six yards of middling broad- 
cloth,' so it can be readily imagined how little each private 
got for the King's Mountain expedition." 

But, above all others, we appreciate an opinion of the 
Battle of King's Mountain from our own historian, Dr. J. 
G. M. Ramsey, author of "The Annals of Tennessee." Dr. 
Ramsey's ancestors were among the first settlers in Ten- 
nessee and they helped to found, build, defend, and develop 
the State. He wrote his "Annals" in 1852, and he died in 
the City of Knoxville in 1884, aged 88 years. He says : 

"The expedition against Ferguson was chivalric, in the 
extreme. It was undertaken against a distinguished, skilful 
leader, at the head of a large force, which could easily have 
been doubled. It was composed of raw and undisciplined 
troops, hastily drawn together, against fearful odds, and 
under the most appalling discouragments. 

"The expedition was also eminently patriotic; when it 
was projected disaster and defeat had shrouded the South 
with an impenetrable cloud of despondence and gloom. 
Ruined expectations and blasted hopes hung like a pall over 
the paralyzed energies of the friends of America. 

"The expedition, moreover, was entirely successful. The 
first object of it, Ferguson, was killed and his whole army 
either captured or destroyed. This gave new spirit to the 
desponding Americans, and frustrated the scheme of 
strengthening the British Army by the Tories in its neigh- 

"The whole enterprise reflects the highest honor upon 
the patriotism that conceived and the courage that executed 
it. Nothing can surpass the skill and gallantry of the offi- 
cers; nothing the valor of the men who achieved the vic- 
tory. The whole history of the campaign demonstrates that 
the men who undertook it were not actuate'd by any appre- 
hension that Ferguson would undertake the execution of his 
idle threat against themselves. For to these mountaineers 
nothing than such a scheme would make prettier game for 
their rifles; nothing more desirable than to entice such an 
enemy from his pleasant roads, rich plantations and gentle 
climate with his ponderous baggage, valuable armory, and 
the beautiful spoils of his Loyalists into the very center of 
their own fastnesses; to hang upon his flank, to pick up 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 273 

his stragglers, to cut off his foragers, to make short and 
desperate sallies upon his camp, and finally to make him a 
certain prey, without a struggle, and without a loss. 

"Nor was it the authority or influence of the State that 
led to this hazardous service. Many of them knew not wheth- 
er to any, or what, State they belonged. Isolated by moun- 
tain barriers, and in consequent seclusion from their east- 
ern friends, they were living in the enjoyment of primi- 
tive independence where British taxation and aggression 
had not reached. It was a gratuitous patriotism that incited 
the backwoodsmen. In those days to know that American 
liberty was invaded, and that the only apparent alternative 
in the case was American independence, or subjugation, was 
enough to nerve their hearts to the boldest pulsations of 
freedom, and ripen their purposes to the fullest determina- 
tion of putting clown the aggressor." 

274 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 



Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga River in Carter 
County was the original center of the long, hazardous and 
heroic efforts of our forefathers to lay the foundation of 
the new commonwealth which was later established as Ten- 
nessee, and to spread the dominion of the paleface over a 
territory greater than some Old World empires, and inhab- 
ited by red savages. Nowhere in all the world can there be 
found a spot where historical events of more profound or 
far-reaching significance had their start, or which finally 
attained to a development which gave to a new and feeble 
Republic a territory as great as the Valley of the Mississ- 
ippi and the States later carved out of it. 

It was a grand and inspiring occasion brought about 
by Sycamore Shoals Chapter of Bristol, John Sevier Chap- 
ter of Johnson City, and Bonnie Kate Chapter of Knoxville, 
Daughters of the Revolution, on June 14, 1910, when three 
thousand auditors were assembled at Sycamore Shoals, and 
listened to the praises of those who one hundred and thirty 
years and more before, made history on that very spot, and 
did their part in the Revolutionary battle for freedom and 
liberty. The Daughters of the Revolution are everywhere 
grandly performing their avowed mission of honoring and 
helping to keep alive and green the memories of our Revo- 
lutionary sires. Those sires laid the foundation of the Re- 
public in which we live, and their valor defended it, and 
their blood was poured out that it might endure; and the 
result of their sufferings and hardships advanced the des- 
tiny of the human race to higher planes, and made possible 
the new principle that self-government is the only govern- 
ment fitted for American manhood and character. 

In Tennessee the Daughters of the American Revolution 
can have the additional satisfaction of knowing and cele- 
brating the deeds of their forebears before the Declaration 
of Independence of 1776, as well as after, and can claim and 


st « 
• w 
3 ° 


o i 

? v 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 275 

prove that those same forebears lighted the camp fires of 
civilization in a wilderness of red barbarism, when no 
organized government backed them up, and when flintlock 
rifles and scant ammunition were their only war materials, 
and when successful combat could be waged only by being 
absolutely fearless of death. The occasion of July 14, 1910, 
celebrated two events before the Declaration of Independ- 
ence of 1776, and one afterwards. The three Chapters men- 
tioned each contributed, and secured from Washington and 
Carter Counties contributions for the erection of a monu- 
ment at Sycamore Shoals, on the spot where the first set- 
tlers' fort west of the Alleghanies was erected in 1770 ; upon 
which spot also was negotiated the treaty under which Tran- 
sylvania was acquired from the Cherokees on March 19, 
1775, and where also the soldiers who fought the Battle of 
King's Mountain assembled as a rendezvous preparatory to 
starting on the trip across the mountains to fight Fergu- 
son. The monument is constructed on an Indian mound, 
on a site donated by Mrs. J. C. Thomas, who was then the 
owner. The triangular base of the monument is of gray 
Tennessee marble, four feet each way. The shaft is nine 
feet high, and is made of river rock cemented together. 
A three-sided monument was selected to typify the three 
events that have been mentioned; also to typify the three 
Colonels who took part in the Battle of King's Mountain, 
namely: Colonel William Campbell, Colonel Isaac Shelby, 
and Colonel John Sevier ; and also to typify the three Chap- 
ters of the Daughters of the American Revolution, whose 
joint efforts brought about its construction. 

There are four inscriptions on this monument. On the 
shaft is a bronze tablet : 

To the memory of 

the patriots 

Who met here September 25, 1780, 

on their way to 

King's Mountain, under 

William Campbell, Isaac Shelby and John Sevier. 

The inscriptions on the three faces of the base are these : 

276 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee; History 

1780 1909 

Erected by 

John Sevier 

Bonnie Kate 

Sycamore Shoals 

Chapters D. A. R. 

September 26, 1909. 

The sword of the Lord and of Gideon. 

Fort Watauga 

First (Settlers' Fort) 

Built west of 

the Alleghanies 


Here was negotiated 

the treaty 

under which Transylvania 

was acquired from the 


March 19, 1775. 

The program of the celebration opened with a prayer 
and the singing of "America," by one thousand voices, 
followed by a trio of little boys, descendants of the three 
Colonels who led the men across the mountains, unveiling 
the monument. These boys were Robert Asher Gray, a 
descendant of Colonel William Campbell; Carter Crymble, 
a descendant of John Sevier; and Evan Shelby, a descend- 
ant of Isaac Shelby, this boy coming from Memphis to par- 
ticipate in the ceremonies of the occasion. Shelby Thomas 
and Margaret Robertson, both descendants of Colonel Camp- 
bell, and Samuel Doak, descendant of the preacher who 
offered the prayer upon the departure of the soldiers for 
King's Mountain, were also present; and the Reverend 
David A. Carter, of San Antonio, Texas, a great-great- 
grandson of John Sevier, made a brief address. United 
States Senator and former Governor Robert L. Taylor was 
the orator of the occasion, and Mrs. J. H. McCue, Regent 
of the Sycamore Shoals Chapter; Miss Mamie Arnell, Re- 
gent of John Sevier Chapter, and Mrs. Joseph W. Sneed, 
Regent of the Bonnie Kate Chapter, made brief talks. The 
audience of three thousand persons present came from Ten- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 277 

nessee, Southwest Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, 
Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. Special trains 
were run for the occasion, and telegrams were received 
from a number of Chapters of the Daughters of the Revo- 
lution throughout the country, showing the great interest 
they felt in the unveiling. 

The John Sevier Chapter, D. A. R., of Johnson City, has 
gone further than to help erect the monument at Sycamore 
Shoals, and, by the aid of the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio 
Railroad, has erected a number of substantial markers 
along the route taken by the King's Mountain soldiers 
across the mountains, this route following for a consider- 
able distance the line of the railroad. 

The fort at Sycamore Shoals commemorated by the mon- 
ument was an absolute necessity for the white man in 
1770 when it was erected. At that early date there were 
very few pioneers on the Wautauga, and for such as 
were there some forted protection was necessary, and saved 
the lives, first and last, of hundreds of men, women and 
children. The time ought never to come in Tennessee when 
its people forget that such a structure was built, and which 
rendered indispensable protection in those early days. 

The Transylvania Purchase from the Cherokees was one 
of those monumental events in our early days that ought 
to be known by all Tennesseans. Colonel Richard Hender- 
son had sent Daniel Boone to search out good lands in Ken- 
tucky and Tennessee, and report what he found. James 
Robertson accompanied Boone from North Carolina on one 
of his trips, and this was Robertson's introduction to East 
Tennessee. In time Robertson became well acquainted with 
the nature of the Cherokee Indian, and he gave Boone a hint 
that the Cherokees were very fond of highly colored clothing, 
showy ornaments and whiskey, and Boone took this hint to 
Colonel Richard Henderson, who thereupon organized in 
North Carolina a company for the purchase of the State of 
Kentucky and part of the State of Tennessee, and this terri- 
tory he proposed to call "Transylvania." The purchase was 
consummated at Sycamore Shoals on March 19, 1775, as 
stated in the inscription on the monument. In the Company 
making the purchase there were, besides Colonel Henderson, 

278 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Thomas Hart, John Williams, James Hogg, Nathaniel Hart, 
David Hart, Leonard H. Bulloch, John Luttrell, and William 
Johnston, and of these, Colonel Henderson and Nathaniel 
Hart, accompanied by Daniel Boone, went to the various 
Cherokee towns, and proposed a council for the purchase 
of Indian lands by Henderson's company. Accordingly, on 
the 17th of March, 1775, the Indians came together at the 
Watauga Fort, in numbers said to be twelve hundred war- 
riors, and settlers said to be two hundred and fifty men, 
women and children also came, until a very animated and 
variegated crowd was present on a very pregnant histori- 
cal mission. The greatest chieftains of the Cherokees were 
there, and among them Oconostota and Atta-Culla-Culla, 
and among the whites were Colonel Henderson, James 
Robertson and John Sevier. There were feasting 
and dancing and numerous sports, and whisky and 
bright goods and trinkets and gaudy jewelry, and every- 
thing that could attract the eye and taste of the Cherokee. 
The goods were brought across the mountains, and, with 
the whisky, completely conquered the Indians. But there 
was one long-headed old chief, said to have been Oconostota, 
who, while he liked Colonel Henderson's whisky and the 
bright cloth and the trinkets, held back and refused to sell. 
Haywood says that he made a very animated and pathetic 
speech. He began with the very flourishing state in which 
his Nation once was, spoke of the encroachments of the 
white people from time to time upon the retiring and expir- 
ing nations of Indians who left their homes and the seats 
of their ancestors to gratify the insatiable desires of the 
white people for more land. Whole nations had melted 
away in their presence like balls of snow before the sun, 
and scarcely left their names behind, except as imperfectly 
recorded by their enemies and destroyers. It was once 
hoped that they would not be willing to travel beyond the 
mountains so far from the ocean, on which their commerce 
was carried on, and their connections maintained with the 
nations of Europe. But now that fallacious hope had van- 
ished, they had passed the mountains and settled upon the 
Cherokee lands and wished to have their usurpations sanc- 
tioned by the confirmation of a treaty. When that should 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 279 

be done, the same encroaching spirit would lead them upon 
other lands of the Cherokees. New cessions would be 
applied for, and finally the country w 7 hich the Cherokees and 
their forefathers had so long occupied would be called for; 
and the small remnant which may then exist, once so great 
and formidable, will be compelled to seek a retreat in some 
far distant wilderness, there to dwell but a short space of 
time before they would again behold the advancing banners 
of the same greedy host, who, not being able to point out 
any further retreat for the miserable Cherokees, would then 
proclaim the extinction of the whole race. He ended with 
a strong exhortation to run all risks and incur all conse- 
qences, rather than submit to any further dilacerations of 
their territory, but he did not prevail, and the cession was 
made. The flight of the years has proven that the Indian 
who made this speech had the inspiration of a prophet. 
A young Indian is said to have advanced the argument that 
if they sold Kentucky to Colonel Henderson it would be set- 
tied by white men, and that it would not be long until the 
white man in Kentucky would prove a barrier against the 
Shawnees, Mingoes, Senecas and the Delawares, who were 
the enemies of the Cherokees, and lived further north than 
Kentucky. Oconostota was out-voted, and was compelled to 
give his assent and to sign the treaty. It is impossible to 
tell, at this distance, what consideration was paid by Colonel 
Henderson for this immense purchase of land, and it is 
highly probable that no one except those white men imme- 
diate parties to the transaction ever knew. The considera- 
tion is said to have been ten thousand pounds sterling, which 
is equivalent to fifty thousand dollars, and this was paid in 
merchandise. It may be put down as exceedingly question- 
able whether the merchandise was worth fifty thousand 

R. S. Cotterill, author of "History of Pioneer Kentucky," 
published in 1917, gives this account of the Treaty: 

"In the spring of 1775, the wagons laden with goods de- 
signed for the Cherokees by the Transylvania Company 
made their slow way across the Carolina mountains toward 
the appinted rendezvous on the Watauga River. The heav- 
ily laden wagons with their extraordinary cargo and their 

280 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

guard of two impassive warriors created much comment 
as they passed through the scattered settlements. The re- 
port got abroad and spread like wildfire that a new attempt 
was to be made to cross the Cumberlands and settle Ken- 

"Premonitions of such things caused Henderson to take 
precautions that the treaty should be fair and just, and 
that the Indians should fully understand the nature of it 
all. All halfbreeds among the Indians were required to 
attend and assist at interpreting. Moreover, the best lin- 
guists among the Indian traders, including Ellis Harlan, 
Isaac Rogers, Thomas, Benjamin and Richard Paris ; and 
Thomas Price were present and rendered active aid. "Sev- 
eral men of note in the 'settlements' were there, among 
which number was Isaac Shelby, later to become first Gov- 
ernor of Kentucky. He was making plans for moving to 
Kentucky, and more than suspected that Henderson was 
after the same lands as himself. 

"From the time the contracting parties met until their 
departure, twenty days were consumed, but not all these 
were spent in business. The actual treaty making seems 
to have taken up about five days while the remaining time 
was passed in feasting and revelry. On the first day Hen- 
derson and his companions called upon the Indians to show 
their title to the Kentucky lands. This the chiefs did, and 
Henderson satisfied himself by a most careful investigation 
that the Cherokees alone of all the people of that time were 
the rightful owmers of the land. On the second day there 
came up the question of what lands Henderson wished to 
buy from the Indians. The Cherokees showed themselves 
unwilling to part with any lands except those lying to the 
north and east of the Kentucky River. This region Hender- 
son promptly refused to buy for the quite sufficient reason 
that Virginia had already bought it and was at that moment 
in possession. The Indians, unable to comprehend the ethi- 
cal principle which prevented them from selling the same 
property as often as they pleased, were much incensed at 
Henderson's attitude, and, led by Dragging Canoe, they 
withdrew and broke up the conference. However, the lure 
of the 'white man's goods' was too much for the Indian 
character, and the following day found the Indians pre- 
pared to renew the conference. Henderson renewed his de- 
mands, and the Indians finally agreed to them, though not 
without many complaints of the fewness of the goods to be 
given in exchange. It was at this juncture that Dragging 
Canoe, in an impassioned address, warned the white men 
that they had secured a 'dark and bloody ground,' a phrase 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 281 

that was to become widely famous. The region demanded 
by Henderson and yielded by the Indians lay between the 
Kentucky and the Cumberland rivers. On the fourth day 
nine deeds, one for each of the proprietors, were prepared 
and laid before the Indians for signing. The interpreters 
were present and read the documents to the chiefs, word 
for word, until they declared they thoroughly understood 
them. Then the chiefs signed. One of the interpreters, 
Vann, as a result of a slight altercation with Henderson, 
at the last moment counseled the Indians to reject the 
treaty, but his advice fell on unheeding ears. 

"The expense of the twenty days of treaty making was 
by no means small, and was met by the Transylvania Com- 
pany. They furnished beeves, flour, corn, and other provi- 
sions for the entire assembly. To the credit of the com- 
pany no liquor was given the Indians until the negotiations 
were completed. Hardly was the treaty signed, however, 
before the chiefs got gloriously intoxicated. The action of 
Henderson throughout is not open to criticism. There will 
not be found in history a treaty more fairly negotiated or 
more religiously observed." 

Colonel Henderson and his associates contemplated the 
establishment of a separate government in the territory 
bought, but in 1776 they addressed a petition to the Conti- 
nental Congress in which they requested that Transylvania 
might be made one of the United Colonies, "Having their 
hearts warmed with the same noble spirit that animates the 
Colonies" — they said, "and moved with indignation at the 
late ministerial and parliamentary usurpations, it is the 
earnest wish of the proprietors of Transylvania to be con- 
sidered by the Colonies as brethren engaged in the same 
great cause of liberty and mankind." 

After the purchase by Colonel Henderson and his asso- 
ciates, the Watauga Association, which held under a lease 
of eight years the land occupied by the white settlers, 
wanted to obtain a fee simple title to these lands, and two 
days after Henderson's purchase they succeeded, for a con- 
sideration of two thousand pounds sterling, in buying their 
homes in fee simple ; and it was in reference to these lands 
and this purchase that Oconostota said to Daniel Boone, 
"Young man, we have sold you a fine territory, but I fear 
you will have some difficulty in getting it settled." He was 

282 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

a man of great power, was deep and treacherous, and for 
many years was one of the most powerful enemies the white 
man had in the long contest with the Indians. He lived 
to see the day when his own prophecy had come true, and 
when the Cherokee nation had been crushed by John Sevier. 
The deed by which the Watauga Association procured 
a fee simple title to the homes of the settlers is on record in 
the Register's Office of Washington County, Tennessee, and 
the conveyance is to Charles Robertson, who afterwards is- 
sued conveyances to all of those who had settled on land 
and were building a home. This deed is a very interesting 
document, and Ramsey gives it as follows : 

"THIS INDENTURE made on the 19th day of March, 
1775, by Oconostota, chief warrior and first representative 
of the Cherokee Nation, or tribe of Indians, and Atta-Culla- 
Culla and Savanucah, otherwise Coronoh, for themselves, 
and the rest of the whole nation, being the aborigines and 
sole owners by occupancy from the beginning of time, of the 
lands on the waters of Holston and Watauga Rivers, and 
other lands thereunto belonging, of the one part, and 
Charles Robertson of the settlement of Watauga of the other 

The consideration was "The sum of two thousand 
pounds, lawful money of Great Britain in hand paid." 

The deed embraced "all that tract, territory or parcel of 
land on the waters of Watauga, Holston and Great Can- 
away, or New River; beginning on the south, or southwest 
side of Holston River six English miles from Long Island 
in said River ; thence a direct line, nearly a south course to 
the ridge which divides the waters of Watauga from the 
waters of Nonachuckeh ; thence along the various courses 
of said ridge nearly a southeast course to the Blue Ridge, 
or line dividing North Carolina from the Cherokee lands; 
thence west along the Virginia line to Holston River ; thence 
down the meanders of Holston River to the first station, 
including all the waters of Watauga, part of the waters of 
Holston, and the head branches of New River, or Great 
Canaway, agreeable to the bounds aforesaid, to said Charles 
Robertson, his heirs and assigns. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 283 

"And also the said Charles Robertson, his heirs and 
assigns shall and may peaceably and quietly have and hold, 
possess and enjoy said premiess without let, trouble, hin- 
drance or molestation, interruption or denial, of them, the 
said Oconostota, and the rest, or any of said nation. 

"Signed in the presence of 

"John Sevier, 
"Oconostota, his X mark (Seal) 

"William Bailey Smith 
"Attacullecully, his X mark, (Seal) 

"Jesse Benton, 
"Tennesy Warrior, his X mark (") 

"Tillman Dixon, 
"Willinawaugh, his X mark (") 

"William Blevins, 

"Thomas Price, 

"James Vann, Linguister." 

During the pendency of the conference at Sycamore 
Shoals, Parker and Carter, whose store had been robbed by 
Indians, attended and demanded as pay for their loss, Car- 
ter's Valley, to which the Indians assented, if some addi- 
tional consideration was given, which was done. 

Still another deed was made by the Indians at Sycamore 
Shoals to Jacob Brown in consideration of ten shillings, and 
this deed embraced a very large amount of the very best 
land in Washington and Greene Counties. 

Still another deed was made, and neither the amount of 
land nor the consideration was stated. 

It is evident that the settlers thought that the con- 
ference at Sycamore Shoals was the accepted time for 
straightening out land titles with the Indians, and under 
the stimulating and exciting environment, the negotiations 
seem to have passed off in a very pleasant and friendly way, 
and never afterwards, so far as history records, was a 
charge made by the Indians that in this treaty they were 
swindled by the white man. 

284 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 



1767 March 15 — Born in North Carolina? South Carolina? 

1784 Fall — Begins the study of law. 

1787 May — Admitted to practice law in North Carolina. 

1788 August 12 — Duel with Col. Waightstill Avery at 


1788 Spring — Appointed Public Prosecutor for Tennessee. 

1791 November — Married Mrs. Rachel Donelson Robards, 
at Natchez, Mississippi. 

1796 January 11 — Member first Constitutional Conven- 
tion of Tennessee. 

1796 Elected Representative in Congress from Tennessee. 

1797 November 22 — Appointed by Governor Sevier Sen- 

ator from Tennessee, vi^e William Blount, re- 

1798 June — Resigns from Senate. 

1798 Elected a member of the Superior Court of Law and 

1801 Elected Major General of Tennessee militia. 
1804 Makes his home at the Hermitage in a log house. 
1804 July 24 — Resigns from the Superior Court. 
1805-6 Entertains Aaron Burr. 
1806 May 30— Duel with Charles Dickinson. 

1812 June 25 — Offers services of Tennessee Volunteers 

to. the United States government in the war of 

1813 January 7 — Starts for New Orleans with Tennessee 

1813 February 15 — Arrives at Natchez. 
1813 March 25 — Starts home from Natchez. 
1813 September 4 — Wounded in affray with Thomas H. 

and Jesse Benton. 
1813 October 11 — Starts with his command for the Creek 

1813 November 3— Battle of Talluschatches, Creek War. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 285 

1813 November 9— Battle of Talladega, Creek War. 

1814 January 22 — Battle of Emuckfau, Creek War. 
1814 January 24 — Battle of Enotocopco. 

1814 March 27 — Battle of the Horseshoe, Creek War. 

1814 April 19 — Appointed Brigadier General United 
States Army. 

1814 May 1 — Appointed Major General United States 
Army, vice William Henry Harrison, resigned. 

1814 August 10 — Had treaty with Creeks signed. 

1814 September 9 — Starts first Florida campaign. 

1814 December 2 — Arrives at New Orleans for the de- 
fense of the city. 

1814 December 16 — Declares martial law in New Orleans. 

1814 December 23 — First battle in defense of New Or- 


1815 January 1 — Second battle in defense of New Or- 


1815 January 8 — Wins battle of New Orleans. 

1815 March 5 — Causes the arrest of Judge Dominick A. 
Hall, United States District Judge at New Or- 

1815 March 13 — Abrogates martial law at New Orleans. 

1815 March 24— Fined $1,000.00 by Judge Dominick A. 
Hall for contempt of court, which Jackson paid 
the same day, and which was refunded by Con- 
gress with interest in 1842. 

1815 May 15 — Arrives at Nashville from New Orleans. 

1817 December 26 — Enters upon second Florida campaign. 

1818 April 28 — Causes the execution of Arbuthnot and 


1819 February 8 — House of "Representatives in Congress 

sustains Jackson's conduct in the Florida cam- 

1819 January and February — Visits Eastern cities. 

1819 February — Spain cedes Florida to the United States. 

1821 Appointed by President Monroe Governor of Florida. 

1821 May 31 — Resigns from the army. 

1821 July 17 — Takes possession of Florida as Governor, 
and it becomes a territory of the United States. 

1821 October — Resigns as Governor of Florida. 

286 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee; History 

1822 July 20 — Nominated for President by the Legisla- 

ture of Tennessee. 

1823 Offered and declined mission to Mexico. 

1823 October — Elected to the United States Senate from 

1823 Built church for Mrs. Jackson near Hermitage. 

1824 March 4 — Nominated for President by the Pennsyl- 

vania Convention. 

1824 November — Receives plurality of electoral votes for 


1825 February 9 — Defeated for President in the House 

of Representatives in Congress by John Quincy 
Adams, who received the vote of thirteen States, 
Jackson seven, William H. Crawford of Georgia 

1825 LaFayette visits the Hermitage. 

1825 October — Resigns from the United States Senate. 

1825 October — Renominated for President by the Legis- 

lature of Tennessee. 

1826 or 1827 Communion Sunday, date uncertain, prom- 

ises Mrs. Jackson to join the church when out 
of politics. 
1828 November — Elected President of the United States. 

1828 December 22— Death of Mrs. Jackson. 

1829 January 17 — Leaves Hermitage for his inauguration. 

1829 March 4 — Inaugurated President. 

1830 April 13 — Offers toast: "Our Federal Union, it must 

be preserved," at Jefferson's birthday dinner. 
1830 December 7 — Recommends that the Southern Indians 

be removed to the Indian Territory. 
1832 July 10 — Vetoes bill re-chartering the Bank of the 

United States. 
1832 November — Re-elected President of the United 


1832 December 10 — Issues proclamation to nullifiers of 

South Carolina. 

1833 June 26 — Harvard College confers the degree of 

LL. D. 
1833 September 23 — Orders withdrawal of deposits from 
Bank of the United States. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee; History 287 

1834 March 28 — Censured by Senate by resolution for 

removing public deposits from the Bank of the 
United States. 

1835 December 29 — Treaty with the Cherokee Indians for 

their removal to Indian Territory. 

1835 January 8 — Proclaims the payment in full of the na- 
tional debt of the United States. 

1837 March 16 — Resolution passed in the Senate expung- 
ing 1 the resolution of censure of 1834. 

1837 March 4 — Issues farewell address to people of the 
United States. 

1839 Becomes a member of the Presbyterian Church built 
by him near the Hermitage for Mrs. Jackson. 

1843 June 7— Made his last will. 

1845 June 8 — Sunday, at 6:00 p. m. died. 

1845 June 10 — Buried by the side of Mrs. Jackson at the 

288 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 



Seven ancient cities — Athens, Argos, Smyrna, Rhodes, 
Colophon, Salamis in Cyprus, and Chios — each claimed and 
contended for the honor of being the birth-place of poor old 
blind Homer. Two American commonwealths — North Caro- 
lina and South Carolina — have contended and contend today 
for the honor of having been the birth-place of Andrew 
Jackson, who, at the time of his birth had as helpless an out- 
look upon life and the world, as any offspring of any immi- 
grant that ever landed on our shores. The controversy be- 
tween North Carolina and South Carolina is of many years' 
standing, and the issue between the two States reached its 
most pronounced stage when James Parton, an Englishman, 
wrote a Life of Jackson in 1858, and secured the services 
of General Walkup, of North Carolina, to make an investi- 
gation and secure proof as to Jackson's birth-place. It was 
but natural that General Walkup should wish the fact to be 
found in favor of North Carolina, but however he may have 
felt, that was the result, and Parton adopted his views, and 
was the first to take a bold and pronounced stand in favor 
of the proposition that Jackson was born in North Carolina. 
It must be said that down to the publication of Parton's 
Life, the general current of biographies and writings on the 
subject of Jackson's birthplace was in favor of South Caro- 

The last, and probably the strongest contender in this 
controversy, is Secretary A. S. Salley, Jr., of the Historical 
Commission of South Carolina, who prepared a paper of 
thirty-one printed pages, published as a part of Brady's 
"The True Andrew Jackson," wherein Secretary Salley sets 
forth the argument in favor of the Palmetto State. This 
argument is too long to be here reproduced in full, so it is 
presented in condensed form, and for the sake of clearness, 
his various contentions will be numbered : 

Andrew Jackson on Sam Patch, a magnificent white horse presented to him by 
citizens of Pennsylvania. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 289 

Secretary Salley says: 

1. Andrew Jackson always claimed that he was born in 
South Carolina. 

2. On December 24, 1830, Jackson wrote a letter to J. 
R. Pringle, Intendant of Charleston, South Carolina, where 
he speaks of Charleston as "the emporium of my native 

3. On D'ecember 9, 1832, he wrote a letter to Joel R. 
Poinsett, who was born in Charleston, South Carolina, 
wherein he speaks of "our native State." 

4. On December 10, 1832, one day after he wrote the let- 
ter to Mr. Poinsett, he issued a proclamation to the nulli- 
fiers of South Carolina, and addressed them as "Fellow citi- 
zens of my native State." 

5. On June 24, 1833, he wrote another letter to Poinsett, 
and again used the expression in reference to South Caro- 
lina, "my native State." 

6. On January 13, 1843, at the Hermitage, he wrote a 
letter to Governor Hammond of South Carolina wherein he 
refers to "the Legislature of my native State, South Caro- 

7. In his last Will and Testament he bequeaths to An- 
drew Jackson, Jr., "the large silver vase presented to me by 
the ladies of Charleston, South Carolina, my native State." 

All of this is conclusive as to the State he thought he was 
born in, and we naturally inquire, in a controversy of this 
kind, as to what weight should be given to a man's opinion 
and statement as to his birth-place. Ordinarily, such a 
statement is accepted as conclusive, unless evidence strong, 
convincing and overwhelming is presented to show that he is 
in error. It is difficult to rebut Secretary Salley's proposi- 
tion that as bright a youth and young man as Jackson was, 
it is preposterous to say that he could be in error as to his 
birth-place. The early biographers take Jackson's view, 

8. The first of these was the biography published in 
1817 by Major Reid, who was Jackson's aid at the Battle of 
New Orleans, and for years in personal contact with him, 
and Reid put his birth-place as South Carolina. 

290 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

9. General James Gadsden, in 1824, published a pam- 
phlet entitled "Sketches of the Life and Public Services of 
General Andrew Jackson," and stated that Jackson was a 
native of South Carolina, and was born on the 15th of 
March, 1767, at the Waxhaw settlement, about forty-five 
miles above Camden, and was the youngest of three sons. 

10. In 1834 William Cobbett published a biography of 
Jackson, and gave South Carolina as his birth-place. 

11. In 1843 Amos Kendall, who was a member of what 
was called Jackson's "Kitchen Cabinet," published in serial 
form a part of a biography of Jackson, and gave South Caro- 
lina as his birth-place, and included a map with the biogra- 
phy, showing the spot in South Carolina where he was born. 

12. On June 18, 1845, the Charleston, South Carolina, 
"Courier" published a sketch of Jackson's life, and credited 
the birth-place to South Carolina. 

13. On June 27, 1845, George Bancroft, the historian, 
delivered his oration in Washington City on Jackson, and 

"South Carolina gave a birth-place to Andrew Jackson. 
On its remote frontier, far up on the forest clad banks of 
the Catawba, in a region where the settlers were just begin- 
ning to cluster, his eyes first saw the light." 

14. On December 19, 1820, a Special Committee of the 
Legislature of South Carolina, to which Committee had been 
referred the matter of the presentation to the Legislative 
Library of South Carolina, by James Thonaldson, of a bust 
of General Jackson, made a report, in which was used the 
following language : 

"With so many themes of admiration and causes of grati- 
tude in the history of the General, we, as Carolinians, 
have the still more happy reason for gratulation that he, 
whose nativity has been the cause of rivalry for contending 
States, is acknowledged as our own." 

This report was spread upon the Journal of the House, 
and published in the Acts of the General Assembly of South 
Carolina, and thereby given weight and publicity. 

15. J. Boykin, the Surveyor of South Carolina, in 1820, 
surveyed the Lancaster District, whicl} joins the Waxhaw 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 291 

District, under a contract with South Carolina, and pre- 
pared a map, and on that map locates "Genl. A. Jackson's 
birthplace." This map was engraved for Mill's Atlas of 
South Carolina, published in 1825. 

16. Eugene Reilly, surveyor and engineer, published 
a map in 1820, and it also locates "Genl. Jackson's birth- 
place," and puts it at the spot where Boykin put it. 

17. In 1858 the Lancaster Ledger (South Carolina) 
published an article in wjiich it used this language : 

"Many years ago it was mooted whether General Jack- 
son was born in this State or just over the line in North 
Carolina. Colonel James H. Witherspoon, then a prominent 
citizen of this district, and intimate friend of Jackson, ad- 
dressed him a letter of inquiry as to his birth-place. The 
reply of General Jackson was full and particular. He states 
that he was born in the Waxhaws in South Carolina, on a 
place belonging to Major Crawford. This letter is now in 
the hands of James H. Witherspoon, Esquire, son of the 
late Colonel James H. Witherspoon, to whom it was ad- 

Secretary Salley's argument was dated at Columbia, 
South Carolina, August 25, 1905. 

The author has in his possession two Lives of General 
Jackson, one of which is by John S. Jenkins, A. M., pub- 
lished in 1852, in which Mr. Jenkins states that Jackson 
was born in the Waxhaw settlement about forty-five miles 
above Camden, South Carolina, near the boundary line of 
North Carolina; the other is by Philo A. Goodwin, Esquire, 
entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1833 in 
the Clerk's office of the Southern District of New York, 
in which Mr. Goodwin says that Jackson was born at 
Waxhaw T , District of Marion, in the State of South Carolina. 

The argument advanced by Parton on the strength of 
the testimony secured by General Walkup, is based upon 
the memory of old men and women in 1858, repeating what 
they had heard their ancestors say about the place of Jack- 
son's birth. General Walkup's evidence was secured about 
ninety years after Jackson's birth and this evidence is 
hearsay and it may or may not be correct. The candid in- 
vestigator who is without State pride in the settlement of 
the question, will probably conclude that the weight of the 

292 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

evidence is on the side of South Carolina, and this is the 
conclusion of the author. Without in any sense dogmati- 
cally asserting that the evidence for South Carolina is con- 
clusive, the probabilities, we might say the strong prob- 
abilities, are in favor of South Carolina's claim. 

As an illustration of the strength or weakness, as the 
reader may look at it, in favor of North Carolina, General 
Walkup secured a statement from an old man by the name 
of Benjamin Massey, who said that he heard Mrs. Lathan, 
who claimed to have been present at the birth of General 
Jackson, say that she as a child of seven years, went with 
her mother to Mrs. Jackson at the time of the birth, and that 
Mrs. Jackson was then at McCamie's house in North Caro- 

This presents the question as to the weight to be given 
to the statement of an old man who quotes a woman who 
made a statement about a matter that she says occurred 
when she was seven years old. 

At the time of Jackson's birth, the Waxhaw settlement 
was sparsely settled, and practically a wilderness, and it 
is very improbable indeed that the residents had a very 
accurate idea where the line between North and South 
Carolina ran, and that unless they had some special reason 
or motive for investigating and ascertaining its location, 
it remained with them a mere matter of guess work, and not 
a reliable fact. 

The reader will observe that the weight of the case made 
by Mr. Salley for South Carolina is based upon the idea 
that a man is generally a reliable witness as to his birth- 
place, and upon the maps made by Boykin and Reilly, both 
of whom were surveyors. It is to be observed, however, 
that as far back as 1820, fifty-three years after General 
Jackson's birth, that there was a dispute as to the State of 
his birth, but from that date to the publication of Parton's 
biography in 1858 — thirty-eight years — General Jackson's 
statement that he was born in South Carolina seems to have 
been generally accepted, and any further discussion over 
his birth-place dropped, until Parton raised the question 
again in 1858. 

But, wherever born, the testimony is absolutely con- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 293 

elusive that Jackson came into the world the child of the 
deepest poverty, and that his father never got title to the 
tract of land on which he lived, and that he is now buried 
in the Waxhaw church yard in an unmarked grave, and that 
Jackson's mother is buried no one knows where. 

After the General became President, he had an inves- 
tigation made for his mother's grave, but without results. 

His brother Robert died of the small pox, and so Andrew 
Jackson, emigrant, had only a boy of fourteen out of a 
family of five, to perpetuate his name, and this fourteen 
year old boy destined for "Fame's eternal camping ground," 
had a future that appeared so forlorn that, like the Ancient 
Mariner, he was 

"Alone, alone, all alone! 
Alone on the wide, wide sea." 

Tarleton, in May, 1780, made a raid into the Waxhaw 
settlement and killed one hundred and thirteen of a detach- 
ment of militia which he found there, and wounded more 
than that. This was generally called "Tarleton's Massa- 
cre" and created flaming excitement all over the State, and 
drove the citizens from their homes until Tarleton's com- 
mand departed. It was about this time that the British 
officer commanded Andrew to clean his boots, which he 
refused to do, and the officer struck the boy with his sword, 
the blow being partially warded off by his hand, but which 
left a gash both on Andrew's head and hand. This, and 
a series of events at this period, gave Andrew Jackson a 
taste of real warfare, and begot an intense hatred of the 
British which was amply justified by the treatment that 
they gave him and his family, and "the people of South 
Carolina. Mrs. Jackson died probably of ship fever in a 
prison ship, or by exposure to ship fever, while waiting 
on prisoners on the ship. 

Corwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781, and this 
was practically the end of the Revolutionary War, though 
not entirely so. The formal declaration of peace was de- 
clared in April 1783. 

The first work we read of Andrew doing was as a 
saddler ; and the evidence seems to be beyond question that 
he taught school, though for what length of time, and where, 

294 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

may be questioned. We would infer from this that his 
education may have been somewhat better than he is gen- 
erally credited with at that time of his life. 

He began to read law in Salisbury in 1786 with Spruce 
McKay, one of the ablest lawyers in North Carolina at 
that day. He was about eighteen years old when he began 
to study law; he read and studied with John McNairy and 

Crawford in McKay's office. We have been unable 

to find any information as to the connection, if any, of 
Crawford, the law student, to Jackson, but the probabili- 
ties are that he was Jackson's cousin. He received a license 
to practice law at the age of twenty, and about one year 
elapsed between that time and his crossing the mountains 
to make his home in Tennessee. 


State of North Carolina. — ss. 

To the Justices of the several Courts of Pleas and Quar- 
ter Sessions within the State : 

Whereas, Andrew Jackson, in Rowan County in the 
State aforesaid, gentleman, hath applied to us, the judges 
of the superior court of law and equity. The said gentleman 
hath applied to plead and practice as an attorney in the 
several county courts in the same State; and whereas the 
said Andrew Jackson hath resided in the said State for the 
space of two years last past, and is sufficiently recommended 
to us as a person of unblemished moral character, and, upon 
examination had before us, appears to possess a competent 
degree of knowledge in the law for the purpose aforesaid, 

We, therefore, in pursuance of the power and authority 
committed to us by the act of the general assembly in that 
case made and provided, do hereby admit the said Andrew 
Jackson to plead and practice as an attorney in the said sev- 
eral courts of pleas and quarter sessions within the said 
several courts, with all and singular the privileges and mol- 
uments which of right appertain to attorneys and practi- 
ces of the law in the same; he, the said Andrew Jackson, 
taking the several oaths appointed by law for his qualifica- 
tion : given under our hands and seals the twenty-sixth day 
of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven 
hundred and eighty-seven, and in the twelfth year of our 

Sam'l Ashe (seal) 

Jno. F. Williams (seal) 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 295 

State of North Carolina, Anson County — S3. October 
Sessions, 1787. 

These may certify that Andrew Jackson, Esquire, pro- 
duced the within commission authorizing him to practice as 
an attorney within the several county courts within this 
State before the justices of the county court of Anson, etc., 
and was qualified in due form. Certified, etc., 

Mich C. Auld, C. C. 

, At Johnsonville, Randolph County, North Carolina, on 
Tuesday morning, December 11, 1787, Jackson, then a few 
months past twenty years of age, entered the court house 
and produced a license from the Judges of the Superior 
Court of Law and Equity, authorizing him to practice as 
an attorney in the several county courts, and he took the 
oath prescribed by law. It is not known how long he re- 
mained in Johnsonville or Randolph County, but he was 
certainly there at the March court, 1788, as shown by the 
entry on the minutes of that Court as follows : 

"On motion of Andrew Jackson, Esquire, attorney for 
Absolom Tatum, it is ordered that Adam Tate, Esquire, 
Coroner of Rockingham County, be fined 50 Lbs. Nisi for 
failing to return a writ of Fiere Facias against John May, 
sheriff of said County, at the instance of Absolom Tatum, 
and that Sciere Facias issue accordingly." 

The Justices before whom Jackson qualified to practice 
law at Johnsonville were: John Arnold, Zebidee Wood, 
John Lane and Arnold Hill. These four justices were 
members of the County Court which was held in North 
Carolina at that date four times a year. 

There is very little known of where he lived, or what 
he did, or how he got along, during this year, but the next 
certain information we have about him is when he, and a 
number of other emigrants assembled at Morganton, North 
Carolina, to start to Jonesboro, Tennessee. One of these 
was John McNairy, who Was Jackson's friend, and who 
was appointed Judge of the Superior Court of the Western 
District, which then meant the present State of Tennessee, 
and Jackson was appointed Public Prosecutor; Thomas 
Searcy, a friend of Jackson's was appointed Clerk of the 
Court. They traveled by horseback across the mountains 
and reached Jonesboro, and with that we are confronted 

296 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

with another of those controverted questions about Jack- 
son's early life, namely: how long did he remain at Jones- 
boro, before going to Nashville to make his final destina- 
tion there? Generally the statement is made by the bi- 
ographers and historians that he reached Nashville in Oc- 
tober, 1788, and Colonel A. S. Colyar in the first volume 
of his Life of Andrew Jackson accepts this date as correct, 
frankly stating, however, that "There is much circum- 
stantial evidence tending to show that Jackson and Mc- 
Nairy remained in East Tennessee two years, but I (Colonel 
Colyar) have in my possession a letter of Judge McNairy, 
written in 1827, showing that he and General Jackson 
reached Nashville in October, 1788. This is the extract 
from the letter: 

"'Nashville, 7th May, 1827. 

" 'Dear Sir : You desired me to state my knowledge 
of the private character of General Jackson as it respects 
his conduct in connection and intermarriage with Mrs. Jack- 

" 'General Jackson and myself have been acquainted for 
more than forty-five years ; part of that time we lived to- 
gether, and the balance in the immediate neighborhood of 
each other. We moved together from North Carolina to 
this State, and arrived at Nashville in October, 1788/ " 

It will be observed that this letter was written by Judge 
McNairy thirty-nine years after the date he says he and 
Jackson arrived in Nashville. It appears to be certain that 
Jackson was admitted to practice law in Sumner County 
in January, 1789, evidenced by this entry upon the Sumner 
County Court record: 

"January 12, 1789. Andrew Jackson, Esquire, produced 
his license as an attorney at law in Court and took the oath 
required by law." 

On October 6, 1790, another entry shows that he was 
again in Sumner County: 

"October 6, 1790. Andrew Jackson, Esquire, proved a 
bill of sale from Hugh McGary to Gaspar Mansker for a 
negro woman which was O.K." 

Chancellor John Allison, of Nashville, does not agree, 
by any means, with Colonel Colyar as to the date of arrival. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 297 

In Chancellor Allison's book "Dropped Stitches in Tennes- 
see History" he says : 

"Jackson did not arrive at Nashville until the fall of 
the year 1789 or the spring of 1790 — most probably the 
latter. He settled in Jonesboro in what was then Washing- 
ton County, North Carolina, and is now Washington County, 
Tennessee, in the early part of the Spring of 1788." * * * 

"On the old record books of the minutes of the pro- 
ceedings of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions kept 
at Jonesboro will be found the following entry: 

" 'State of North Carolina, Washington County, Monday, 
the twelfth day of May, Anno Domini, seventeen hundred 
eighty-eight. Andrew Jackson, Esquire, came into Court 
and produced a license as an attorney with a certificate 
sufficiently attested of his taking the oaths necessary to 
said office, and was admitted to practice in this County 
Court." * * * 

"These old court records at Jonesboro disclose the fact 
that Jackson was in the town and in attendance on the 
Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions at its November term, 

1 788 " * * * 

"The Court records for the years 1788 and 1789 kept in 
Washington, Sullivan, Greene and Hawkins Counties, es- 
tablish the fact that Jackson was practicing law in those 
Courts during the two years mentioned." 

Chancellor Allison also gives from the same record at 
Jonesboro, November term, 1788, a copy of a bill of sale as 
follows : 

"A bill of sale from Micajah Crews to Andrew Jackson, 
Esquire, for a negro woman named Nancy, about eighteen 
or twenty years of age, was proven in open Court by the 
oath of David Allison, a subscribing witness, and ordered 
to be recorded." 

Chancellor Allison was born and raised at Jonesboro, 
Tennessee, and became a resident of Nashville only after 
he was Secretary of the State of Tennessee in 1885-1889. 
He published his "Dropped Stitches in Tennessee History" 
in 1897. 

In reference to the arrival of Andrew Jackson in Jones- 
boro he says that he made it his business to investigate the 
facts as to Jackson's early life at Jonesboro, and his ar- 
rival there, and that he talked to aged native-born citizens 
who personally knew Jackson, and had also heard much 

298 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

concerning him ; and he quotes these aged citizens as saying 
that when Jackson arrived in Jonesboro he was riding one 
horse and leading another ; that the horse he was riding was 
a race horse ; that he had a pair of holsters buckled across 
the front of his saddle, and that on the led horse, were a 
shot gun, a "pack" and a well filled pair of saddle bags, 
while following after him was a goodly pack of fox hounds. 

Chancellor Allison gives as his authority for this in- 
ventory of Jackson's possessions in Jonesboro three old gen- 
tlemen who knew Jackson personally, namely : Major Bird 
Brown, Abraham Taylor, and John Allison. 

He says that the price of such a slave as that descirbed 
in the bill of sale to Jackson was about three hundred dol- 

It was at Jonesboro, on August 12, 1788, that Jackson 
wrote the challenge to Colonel Waightstill Avery to fight 
a duel, a fac simile of which is published in this volume. 
That the reader may know that this fac simile is absolutely 
authentic, the author states that the original is now in the 
possession of descendants of Colonel Avery, who keep it 
in a bank box at Morganton, North Carolina, and a photo- 
graph from which this fac simile was made, was given to 
the author by a member of the Avery family. The chal- 
lenge grew out of differences arising between Colonel Avery 
and Jackson in the trial of a suit in Court at Jonesboro in 
which both parties lost their temper, and Jackson then and 
there wrote the challenge on the blank leaf of a law book, 
and himself delivered it to Colonel Avery. Gen. John Adair 
acted as second to Colonel Avery. The duel was fought, 
neither party was injured, they made friends, and that 
ended the matter. 

In just thirty-five days after Tennessee became a State 
in the Union Jackson received from Governor John Sevier 
a license to practice law in the new State. The Governor 
issued the license in these words : 


To All Who Shall See These Presents, Greeting : 
Know ye, that I do license Andrew Jackson, esquire, to 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 299 

practice as an Attorney at Law in the several courts of law 
and equity in the State aforesaid, with all the privileges and 
emoluments thereof, or right pertaining. 

Given under my hand and seal at Knoxville the 5th day 
of July 1796. (Signed) John Sevier. 

By the Governor, 

William Mclin, Secretary." 

Jackson was elected the first member of Congress from 
the new State. Congress met after his election December 
5, 1796, and we find him in Philadelphia, ready to take his 
seat and to attend the opening of the body. 

As March 4, 1797, was to witness the final retirement of 
General Washington from the Presidency, the House of Rep- 
resentatives concluded that a farewell address to the Presi- 
dent should be drawn up, and a Committee of five was ap- 
pointed to prepare it, and on December 11, 1796, the address 
was in due form, and considered by the members of the 
House. Jackson voted with those who opposed the address, 
and in all of his subsequent political life, this vote was used, 
or attempted to be used, to his detriment. Sixty-seven rep- 
resentatives voted in favor of accepting the address, and 
twelve against it. 

It is not difficult to account for Jackson's vote against the 
address to Washington. Jackson was a strong endorser of 
the extreme wing of the Jeffersonian party, and Washing- 
ton, in sentiment, was far removed from that party. Jay's 
treaty was bitterly resented by the people West of the moun- 
tains for the reason that it did not grant the free navigation 
of the Mississippi River, and that river, in the absence of 
public highways, was the outlet of the trans-montane coun- 
try, and the entire Mississippi Valley. The free navigation 
of the Mississippi River was the rock on which the political 
fortunes of territorial Governor William Blount was 
w r recked ; everything that Blount did, for which he was ex- 
pelled from the Senate, had that end in view. 

Again, Washington's administration toward Tennessee 
after it became a State, was just about the same as the con- 
duct of North Carolina when the Western country — now 
Tennessee — was an appendage of the Old North State. 
North Carolina never exhibited or had any affection for the 

300 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Western people, but let them fight their own battles with 
the Indians as best they could. Washington's administra- 
tion did the same thing, and if the civilization and upbuild- 
ing of the State of Tennessee and other parts of the Missis- 
sippi Valley, had depended on the good will or assistance of 
that administration, those sections of the country would very 
slowly have been built up. It is true Tennessee had become 
a State, but she was a step-child in the family of States. 

Again, throughout the original thirteen States, and in the 
colonies before they became States, a feeling that while 
Washington was a patriot in the Revolutionary War and 
fought successfully for the freedom of the colonies, that 
at heart he was not in sympathy with the personal fortunes 
of the great mass of the people ; that he was not the friend 
of the poor man, or the average man. 

It is not difficult to see, therefore, that in the light of 
these conditions, a man like Andrew Jackson who had 
sprung from the bottom round of life, and who possessed 
will power that feared nothing and stopped at nothing, 
should resent anything favorable to Washington or his ad- 
ministration, and so he voted against the adoption of the 
very flattering address which it was proposed should be 
sent to him. 

Another indication of Jackson's political views was when 
he voted against an appropriation of money for Savannah, 
Georgia, that had been nearly destroyed by fire; this, evi- 
dently on the principle that the government had no author- 
ity to make such an appropriation; and it took the people 
of the United States decades to get to the point where they 
could feel justified in stretching the powers of Congress so 
as to authorize such appropriations. 

Jackson voted against an appropriation for fourteen 
thousand dollars to purchase furniture for the new Presi- 
dential mansion ; also against the removal of the restriction 
requiring the expenditure of public money to be strictly for 
the object for which it was appropriated. The latter vote 
was highly honorable, and if in the whole history of this 
republic the expenditures of public money had been in line 
with that vote, and just as honest as Jackson was himself in 
spending public money, hundreds of millions would have 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 301 

been saved to the people of the country, and that corruption 
in office which has been so frequently the heritage of the 
American people would very largely have been eliminated. 
It is well known in Tennessee that John Sevier became 
practically a bankrupt by spending his private fortune for 
the equipment of soldiers against the Indians in the pro- 
tection of the settlers of Tennessee. It was in connection 
with the repayment of Sevier by Congress for one of his 
expeditions that Jackson delivered the only speech he 
made while a member of Congress. Hugh Lawson White, 
who was a member of Sevier's expedition when the Indian 
chief, King-Fisher, was killed, sent a petition asking for 
compensation for his services. The Secretary of War made 
a report on Mr. White's petition, dodged the question, and 
said that it was for the House of Representatives to decide 
whether or not the danger w r as great enough to justify Se- 
vier in calling out and equipping his troops on the expedition 
in which King-Fisher was killed. This gave Representative 
Jackson a chance to make his first speech, and we feel certain 
that Tennessee readers would like to read this first speech. 
Jackson said : 

"I do not doubt that by a recurrence to papers presented, 
it will appear evident that the measures pursued on this 
occasion were both just and necessary. When it was seen 
that war was urged upon the State ; that the knife and toma- 
hawk were held over the heads of women and children ; and 
that peaceable citizens were murdered, it was time to make 
resistance. Some of the assertions of the Secretary of War 
are not founded in fact, particularly with respect to the 
expedition having been undertaken for the avowed purpose 
of carrying the war into the Cherokee country. Indeed, 
those assertions are contradicted by a reference to General 
Sevier's letter to the Secretary of War. I trust it will not 
be presuming too much when I say that from being an in- 
habitant of the country, I have some knowledge of this busi- 
ness. From June to the end of October, the militia acted 
entirely in the defensive, when twelve hundred Indians came 
upon them and , carried their Station, and threatened to 
carry their seat of government. In such a state of things, 
would the Secretary upon whom the executive power rested 
in the absence of the Governor, have been justifid had he not 
adopted the measure he did of pursuing the enemy? I be- 
lieve he would not. I believe that the expedition was just 

302 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

and necessary, and that the claim of Mr. White ought to be 
granted. I therefore propose a resolution to the following 
effect : 

" 'RESOLVED That General Sevier's expedition into 
the Cherokee Nation in the year 1793 was a just and neces- 
sary measure and that provision ought to be made by law for 
paying the expenses thereof.' " 

It was proposed to refer the matter to the Committee on 
Claims, and in opposition to this proposition Representative 
Jackson said : 

"I own that I am not very w r ell acquainted with the rules 
of the House, but from the best idea I can form, this would 
be a very circuitous mode of doing business. Why now re- 
fer it to the Committee on Claims, when all the facts are 
stated in this report, I know not. If this is the usual mode 
of doing business, I hope it will not be referred." 

The claim of young White was not considered further 
that day, but on the next day it came up again, and Repre- 
sentative Jackson called up his resolution offered the day 
before, and made his second speech to the house. 

"Already," said he, "rations found for the troops of this 
expedition have been paid for by the Secretary of War, and 
I can see no reasonable objection to the payment of the 
whole expense. As the troops were called out by the supe- 
rior officer they had no right to doubt his authority. Admit 
a contrary doctrine, and it will strike at the very root of 
subordination. It would be saying to the soldiers : 

" 'Before you obey the command of your superior officer, 
you have a right to inquire into the legality of the services 
upon which you are about to be employed, and until you are 
satisfied, you may refuse to take the field.' This, I believe, 
is a principle which cannot be acted upon. General Sevier 
was bound to obey the orders which he had received to un- 
dertake the expedition. The officers under him were obliged 
to obey him. They went with the full confidence that the 
United States would pay them, believing that the United 
States had appointed such officers as would not call them 
into the field without proper authority. If even the expedi- 
tion had been unconstitutional, which I am' far from believ- 
ing, it ought not to affect the soldier, since he has no choice 
in the business, being obliged to obey his superior. Indeed, 
as the provisions have been paid for, and as the rations and 
payroll are always considered 'a check upon .each other, I 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 303 

hope no objection will be made to the resolution which I 
have moved. 

"By referring to the report it will be seen that the Secre- 
tary of War has stated that to allow the prayer of this peti- 
tion would be to establish a principle that will aply to the 
whole of the militia in that expedition. If this petitioner's 
claim is a just one, therefore, the present petition ought to 
go to the whole, as it is unnecessary for every soldier em- 
ployed on that expedition to apply personally to this House 
for compensation." 

James Madison made a speech on Jackson's side, and it 
was referred to a Committee of Five of which Jackson was 
made Chairman, who reported in favor of the amount being 
paid to Hugh Lawson White, and that the sum of $22,816.00 
be appropriated for all the troops on the expedition, which 
.was carried into effect. 

After Congress adjourned on March 3, 1797, we hear 
nothing more of Jackson in the House of Representatives. 

Senator Blount having been expelled, Governor Sevier 
appointed Jackson to serve out the unexpired term in the 
United States Senate, and the new Senator got back to Phil- 
adelphia in the fall of 1797, and on the 22nd of November 
was sworn in. He took no part in the proceedings of 
the Senate, and in April, 1798, he went back to Nashville 
and tendered his resignation to the Governor. 

It was while serving as a member of the House that he 
made the acquaintance of Edward Livingstone, then a mem- 
ber from New York, which acquaintance ripened into a life- 
long friendship that was never broken nor even shaken. 

After resigning from the Senate, the Legislature elected 
him in 1798 a member of the Superior Court of Law and 
Equity at a salary of six hundred dollars, and he held this 
position for six years, and never wrote an opinion. 

The newly elected Judge received from the State at the 
hands of Governor Sevier his judicial commission. 


To All Who Shall See These Presents, Greeting, 
Know Ye, that Andrew Jackson, esquire, of Davidson 
County, Mero District, was on the 20th inst. December, by 
joint ballot of the Houses of the Legislature, duly elected 

304 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

one of the Judges of the Superior Court of law and equity 
in and for said State, agreeably to the constitution thereof ; 
and that in pursuance of the said constitution, I, the said 
John Sevier, do hereby commission the said Andrew Jack- 
son one of the Judges of the Superior Courts of law and 
equity aforesaid, to have and to hold the said office of one 
of the Judges of the Superior Courts of law and equity dur- 
ing good behavior, with all the powers and privileges or 
rights thereto pertaining. 

Given under my hand and seal at Knoxville this 22nd 
December, 1798. 

By the Governor, (Signed) John Sevier. 

William Mclin, Secretary. 

Judge Jackson did not take the oath of office until the 
March term of the court, as evidenced by the following cer- 
tificate from J. W. Aiken, Clerk of the Superior Court, to- 


I, James Aiken, Clerk of the Superior Court of law of 
Washington District, in the State aforesaid, do certify that 
the Hon'ble Andrew Jackson appeared in open Court and 
produced the within Commission and took an oath to sup- 
port the Constitution of the United States, State of Tennes- 
see and also the oath of office required by law. 

Given under my hand this 4th day of March A. D. 1799, 
and in the 23rd year of our Independence. 

(Signed) J. W. Aiken." 


In 1801 Archibald Roane was Governor, and the office of 
Major General of Militia became vacant, a position which 
was eagerly sought. The office was filled by the field officers, 
and on the day of the election it was found that Judge Jack- 
son and General Sevier had an equal number of votes, and 
it was left for the Governor to vote off the tie, which he did, 
by voting for and electing Jackson. General Sevier was 
credited with having won thirty-five battles, and at the time 
of the election Jackson had never fought a battle, and Sevier 
was very much chagrined over his defeat. In addition to 
that, charges were bruited about that certain parties had 
procured fraudulent issues of land warrants, and that Gov- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 305 

ernor Sevier had dealt in some of these fraudulent warrants. 
At the expiration of Roane's term, Sevier became a candi- 
date for Governor and defeated him by a vote of 6,786 to 
4,923, and while the campaign was going on, Jackson made 
public the charge against Sevier of dealing in fraudulent 
land warrants. This, of course, brought on great bitterness, 
and the matter was referred to the Legislature while Sevier 
was Governor, but no final action was taken against the 
Governor — the matter was allowed to die. Charges and 
counter-charges passed between Sevier and Jackson, with 
a challenge or two to fight a duel, made by Jackson and 
accepted by Sevier, but the friends of the two never allowed 
an actual shooting to occur between them. These differences 
occurred while Jackson was a Judge of the highest Court of 
the State, and Sevier the Governor of the State. 

On July 24, 1804, Jackson resigned as Judge. On the 
purchase of Louisiana, he wanted to be appointed Governor 
of that new territory, but did not succeed in his aspiration. 
He was now out of office, having resigned the position 
of Representative in Congress, Senator in Congress, and 
Judge of the highest Court in the State. He turned his 
attention strictly to business matters and evidently made 
up his mind to make a fortune. He had, during the years 
previous to his resignation, been buying up land which in- 
creased in value, so that the probabilities are that at this 
time, he was a man of very substantial means for that 
day. It is impossible to tell just how many thousands of 
acres he owned, but it is clear that he w r as a wealthy land 
owner. He is credited with owning one hundred and fifty 
slaves at this time, and he probably bought and sold slaves. 
He accepted slavery as an existing institution, just as 
every man in Tennessee at that time did, so that his own- 
ing or buying and selling slaves, was nothing more than was 
to be expected under existing conditions. He went into the 
business of raising fine stock, and was very successful. He 
became a merchant, and his credit in Philadelphia and other 
eastern cities, was gilt edged. He was one of the most 
successful and progressive farmers of the day, and dis- 
played a business capacity that was surprising. He was 
a devoted friend of the race track, raced his own horses, 


306 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

bet on horse races, made wagers on chicken fights, and 
very probably gambled some with cards, but his gamb- 
ling was merely an incident in his career. He was devoted 
to the game of billiards. These pastimes were the order of 
the day, and nothing was thought of a man who participated 
in them. No man can be justly criticised who does not 
rise above his environment and the conditions about him; 
men who successfully attempt to elevate the conditions of 
their day are rare. Mankind has settled down to the 
opinion that a man who lives up to the average virtue 
and principles and conduct of his day and time, is entitled 
to the respect even of later years when different standards 
are demanded. In 1917 the race track has been abolished 
in Tennessee, fighting chickens is not recognized as a proper 
thing to do, gambling has been put under the ban of the 
law. Jackson did all of these things — and so did practically 
everybody else at that day who had any proclivity at all 
in the direction of sports, excitement or diversion. 

Jackson fought a duel and killed Charles Dickinson. 
Dueling was one of the accepted customs not only at the 
date of the duel with Dickinson, but for years afterwards. 
Men who were opposed, in principle, to duels, dared not re- 
fuse to accept a challenge when one was sent them. The 
brand of cowardice was put on any man who refused to 
fight on the Field of Honor, and so dueling retained its 
life for years by reason of the moral cowardice of men who 
in principle, were opposed to it. It is surprising to the 
reader of today to learn the curious logic on which dueling 
was based. A simple illustration will make it plain: 
A man has done a wrong to another, for which that other 
feels that he must demand redress, so the injured 
party challenges the wrong-doer to fight. Under the 
rules of dueling each party selects a friend who is 
known as his "second," and the seconds regulate the condi- 
tions of the duel. The seconds prescribe the distance be- 
tween the parties in the duel, and all the other conditions. 
They meet on the Field, and at the word given, they proceed 
to fight. The fight may be with rifles, pistols, swords or 
bowie knives; the injured party may be slain, and the 
party committing the original wrong, be the victor, killing 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 307 

his antagonist. The logic of dueling justified this situation 
where the party doing the original injury does a second and 
greater injury by taking the life of the person first injured. 
From the standpoint of reason, logic and sense, all of this, 
of course, is preposterous. The party originally injured 
receives a death wound, the original wrong-doer goes un- 
'hurt, the original wrong is not vindicated or expiated. 

One justification offered for dueling was that it was just 
as fair for one as it was for the other, but this is manifestly 
untrue. Some men are braver than others, some better 
shots, some cooler, some more careless of life, some more 
vicious; no two men ever lived who had an exact equality 
of those qualities necessary to fight a duel. In every duel, 
therefore, inequalities that made success more certain for 
one than the other, existed; and the deficiency of success- 
ful dueling qualities was just as likely to be upon the side 
of the man who was the original injured party, as upon 
the other. 

Finally the absurdity of the logic of the duel began to 
be accepted by men, moral courage became stronger, and 
the duel was abolished in Tennessee by act of the Legis- 

General Jackson's first country home was at Hunter's 
Hill, but he moved from there to the adjoining tract of land 
on which he built a two-story log house, and called it the 
"Hermitage," in which he entertained AarOn Burr. The 
mansion which he built in 1819, and which was considered 
a grand home at that time, was burned in 1834, and 
promptly rebuilt as it stands today, in care of the Ladies' 
Hermitage Association of Tennessee. 

Burr was entertained at the Hermitage twice, and ban- 
quets were tendered to him by the citizens of Nashville. 
It is difficult for the reader of today to see in the conduct 
of Aaron Burr anything more reprehensible than the con- 
duct of Sam Houston, with the backing of Andrew Jack- 
son, in going to Texas while in a condition of revolution 
against Mexico, and assisting the Texans to throw off the 
Mexican yoke and annex themselves to the United States. 
The reader can hardly help thinking that politics was the 
cause of the condemnation of Aaron Burr, and that the 

308 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

charge was made, like other political charges, to get an 
advantage, and to crush an opponent. Governor William 
Blount was expelled from the United States Senate when 
the sum total of his guilt was an attempt to benefit the 
people of Tennessee, and the whole Mississippi Valley, by- 
bringing about the free navigation of the Mississippi River. 

Mrs. Andrew Jackson. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 309 



The element of romance is woven into the warp and 
woof of Tennessee history in all departments of the life of 
the people from the earliest pioneer days. The romance of 
the pioneer days was like all life of the time : thrilling, ven- 
turesome, novel, inspiring, and often glorious ; and romance 
and fiction writers need not go elsewhere to find material 
that makes a universal appeal to men and women. 

To prove this, let us go back to the flotilla of rude water 
craft that started on December 22nd, 1779, from Fort Pat- 
rick Henry, under the command of Col. John Donelson, on 
a journey of reckless daring by water to Nashville, Ten- 
nessee. The craft were loaded with men, women and chil- 
dren, who were to constitute the first settlers of the State 
at Nashville. Among them was a young girl about thir- 
teen years old, the daughter of Col. Donelson, Rachel by 
name, whom Destiny, hungry for a victim to make unhappy, 
was to lead on to a life with unspeakably sad incidents in 
it, and which, while at times covered with clouds and 
storms, was always wholesome and upright and pure. The 
life of Rachel Donelson suggests that aged query that the 
sons and daughters of men have been asking ever since 
the days of the bliss and fall of Eden, namely: "Is the 
game of life worth the candle?" The imagination could not 
in 1779 picture the young girl of thirteen, becoming in 1828 
an issue in a national election, upon whom all the artillery of 
party politics, firing hate and slander and denunciation 
and obloquy and perjury, was turned, in order to defeat 
her husband for president. Not by her will or by reason 
of any real wrong she had done was she made a sacrifice, in 
order that John Quincy Adams might, if possible, be re- 
elected President of the United States, but a sacrifice she 
was made. The politics of the day spared nothing and no- 
body. General Jackson's enemies controlled three-fourths 
of the newspapers of the country, and Mrs. Jackson was 

310 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

held by them to be legitimate game by which to control 
voters, if they could do it. 

Rachel Donelson was born in Virginia in 1767, and was 
only a few months younger than General Jackson, and came 
to the Watauga region with her parents and family. It 
is one of the traditions over which we love to linger that 
she steered "the good boat Adventure" on the river journey 
to Nashville, when Indian attacks made it necessary for 
the men on board to use their guns in defense. The tradi- 
tions in the Donelson family give us delightful glimpses of 
the girl and young lady down to the time she married Cap- 
tain Louis Robards in the State of Kentucky, where her 
family had moved in the year 1781. Her nature as a child 
was lovable and genial, and threw life and sunshine all 
about her. She was the baby in her father's family and 
petted and humored, but never spoiled. She was of the 
brunette type, not very tall, but well built. As she grew 
and developed, she was mentally Jceen and bright, naturally 
cheerful and wlitty, an entertaining talker who told a story 
well, and of course was popular ; she had talent as a musi- 
cian, could sing and was very companionable among friends. 
A friend of a later day asked the question, "Can't you pic- 
ture this happy hearted pioneer with all the promise of the 
future and life itself bubbling over in her breast?" 

Like all of the women of the West of that day, and like 
a great majority of American women generally, she did 
not have extensive education. Schools were scarce in those 
pioneer days. She did not spell correctly always, and her 
grammar was open to criticism, but the same remark applied 
also to the general run of men. Blut the child, the girl, the 
woman, was sound to the core in every quality that makes 
for true, pure, upright and devoted womanhood. 

After her family moved to Kentucky, in 1781, she met 
Captain Louis Robards, who had been a captain in the Revo- 
lutionary War, as had his brother also, and whose family 
had moved to Kentucky, where Captain Robards took up 
land for the script with which he was paid for his services 
in the Revolutionary War. All accounts represent him as 
educated, handsome, polished in manners and conversation, 
and possessed of those attributes supposed to attract women ; 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 3 1 1 

and all accounts also are unanimous in representing him as 
high tempered and jealous. He was one of those men w r ho 
could not get along with any woman very long at a time, 
and naturally he and his wife had many unhappy episodes 
brought about by his temper and jealousy, and for no sub- 
stantial cause on her part. 

Pursuing the policy of letting an eye witness, if one 
could be found, tell of episodes or characteristics, in his 
own language, the author will quote in full the narrative of 
Judge John Overton, in reference to the troubles of Cap- 
tain Robards and his wife, the connection of General Jack- 
son therewith, and the subsequent marriage of General 
Jackson and Mrs. Robards ; and also quote in full the state- 
ment of Mrs. Elizabeth Craighead, who was a life-long 
friend and neighbor of Mrs. Jackson. These narratives 
were made public in the presidential election of 1828 when 
the Adam's newspapers were applying to Mrs. Jackson all 
manner of offensive epithets, and when it became necessary 
for the Democrats and General Jackson to go into his 
private and domestic affairs, and make public all the facts 
leading up to his marriage. To the credit of the American 
people, be it said, that this is the only instance in our his- 
tory where politics made such a course necessary. An ap- 
proach to it was in the presidential election of 1884, when 
Republican newspapers charged Grover Cleveland with be- 
the father of an illegitimate child, which charge Mr. Cleve- 
land answered, by telling his friends to "tell the truth" 
about it, and which frank answer took all of the sting out 
of the charge and Cleveland was elected. This was fol- 
lowed up by the Democrats making a similar charge against 
James G. Blaine, who ran against Cleveland, which sent 
investigators to the tombstones in a cemetery in the State 
of Maine to ascertain the date of a child's birth and death, 
there buried. Since the 1884 campaign it seems to be the 
wish of both political parties to keep up out of the mud. 


"In the fall of 1787, I became a boarder in the family 
of Mrs. Robards, the mother of Lewis Robards, in Mer- 
cer County, Kentucky, Captain Robards and his wife then 
lived with old Mrs. Robards. 

312 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"I had not lived there many weeks before I understood 
that Captain Robards and his wife lived very unhappily, on 
account of his being jealous of Mr. Short. My brother, who 
was -a boarder, informed me that great uneasiness had 
existed in the family for some time before my arrival. As 
he had the confidence and good will of all parties, a portion 
of this confidence fell to my share, particularly the old 
lady's, than whom, perhaps, a more amiable woman never 
lived. The uneasiness between Captain Robards and the 
lady continued to increase, and with it great distress of 
the mother, and considerably with the family generally; 
until early in the year 1788, as well as now recollected, I 
understood from the old lady, and perhaps others of the 
family, that her son Lewis had written to Mrs. Robards' 
mother, the widow Donelson, requesting that she would 
take her home, as he did not intend to live with her any 
longer. Certain it is that Mrs. Robards' brother, Samuel 
Donelson, came up to carry her down to her mother's, and 
my impression is, in the fall or summer of 1788. I was 
present when Mr. Samuel Donelson arrived at Mrs. Ro- 
bards', and he started away with his sister; and my clear 
and distinct recollection is that it was said to be a final 
separation at the instance of Captian Robards; for I well 
recollect the distress of old Mrs. Robards, on account of her 
daughter-in-law, Rachel, going away, and on account of 
the separation that was about to take place, together with 
the circumstance of the old lady's embracing her affection- 
ately. In unreserved conversations with me, the old lady 
always blamed her son, Lewis, and took the part of her 

"During my residence in Mrs. Robard's family, I do not 
recollect to have heard any of the family censure young Mrs. 
Robards on account of the difference between her hus- 
band and herself; if they thought otherwise, it was un- 
known to me; but recollect frequently to have heard the 
old lady and Captain Jouett, who married the eldest daugh- 
ter of the family, at that time, express the most favorable 
sentiments of her. 

"Having finished my studies in the winter of '88-9, it 
was determined to fix my residence in the country now 
called West Tennessee. Previously to my departure from 
Mrs. Robards', the old lady earnestly entreated me to use 
my exertions to get her son, Lewis, and daughter-in-law, 
Rachel, to live happily together. 

"Their separation for a considerable time had occa- 
sioned her great uneasiness, as she appeared to be much 
attached to her daughter-in-law, and she to her; Captain 
Lewis Robards appeared to be unhappy, and the old lady 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 313 

told me he regretted what had taken place, and wished 
to be reconciled to his wife. Before I would agree to con- 
cern myself in the matter, I determined to ascertain Cap- 
tain Robards' disposition from himself, and took occasion 
to converse with him on the subject, when he assured me 
of his regret respecting what had passed ; that he was con- 
vinced his suspicions were unfounded; that he wished to 
live with his wife, and requested that I would use my exer- 
tions to restore harmony. 

"I told him I would undertake it, provided he would 
throw aside all nonsensical notions about jealousy, for 
which I was convinced there was no ground, and treat his 
wife kindly as other men. He assured me it should be so; 
and it is my impression now that I received a message 
from old Mrs. Robards to Mrs. Lewis Robards, which I 
delivered to her on my arrival at her mother's, where I 
found her some time in the month of February, or March, 
1789. The situation of the country induced me to solicit 
Mrs. Donelson to board me, good accommodatins and board- 
ing being rarely to be met with, to which she readily as- 

"Mr. A. Jackson had studied the law at Salisbury, N. C, 
as I understood, and had arrived in this country in com- 
pany with Judge McNairy, Bennet, Searcy, and perhaps 
David Allison, all lawyers seeking their fortunes, more than 
a month or two before my arrival. Whether Mr. Jackson 
was at Mrs. Donelson's when I first got there in March, 
1789, I cannot say; if he was, it must have been but a little 
time. My impression now is that he was not living there, 
and having just arrived, I introduced him into the family 
as a boarder, after becoming acquainted with him. So it 
was we commenced boarding there about the same time; 
Jackson and myself, our friends and clients, occupying one 
cabin and the family another, a few steps from it. 

"Soon after my arrival, I had frequent conversations 
with Mrs. Lewis Robards, on the subject of living happily 
with her husband. She with much sensibility, assured me 
that no effort to do so should be wanting on her part; and 
I communicated the result to Captain Robards and his 
mother, from both of whom I received congratulations and 

"Captain Robards had previously purchased a preemp- 
tion in this country on the south side of Cumberland River, 
in Davidson County, about five miles from where Mrs! 
Donelson then lived. In the arrangement for a reunion be- 
tween Captain Robards and his wife, I understood it was 
agreed that Captain Robards was to live in this country 
instead of Kentucky ; that until it was safe to go on his own 

314 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

land, which was yearly expected, he and his wife were to 
live at Mrs. Donelson's. Captain Robards became reunited 
to his wife some time in the year of 1788. Both Mr. Jack- 
son and myself boarded in the family of Mrs. Donelson — 
lived in the cabin room and slept in the same bed. As 
young men of the same pursuits and profession, with but 
few others in the country with whom to associate, besides 
sharing, as we frequently did, common dangers, such an 
intimacy ensued as might reasonably be expected. 

"Not many months elapsed before Robards became jeal- 
ous of Jackson, which I felt confident was without the least 
ground. Some of his irritating conversations on this sub- 
ject, with his wife, I heard amidst the tears of herself 
and her mother, who were greatly distressed. I urged to 
Robards the unmanliness of his conduct, after the pains I 
had taken to produce harmony, as a mutual friend of both 
families, and my honest conviction that his suspicions were 
groundless. These remonstrances seemed not to have the 
desired effect. As much commotion and unhappiness pre- 
vailed in the family as in that of Mrs. Robards in Ken- 
tucky. At length, I communicated to Jackson the unpleas- 
ant situation of living in a family wlhere there was so much 
disturbance, and concluded by telling him that we would 
endeavor to get some other place. To this he readily as- 
sented ; but where to go we did not know. Being conscious 
of his innocence, he said he would talk to Robards. 

"What passed between Captain Robards and Jackson, 
I do not know, as I was absent somewhere, not now recol- 
lected, when the conversation and results took place, but re- 
turned soon afterward. The Whole affair was related to 
me by Mrs. Donelson, the mother of Mrs. Robards, and, as 
well as I recollect, by Jackson himself. The substance of 
their account was, that Mr. Jackson met Captain Robards 
near the orchard fence, and began mildly to remonstrate 
with him respecting the injustice he had done his wife, 
as well as himself. In a little time Robards became vio- 
lently angry and abusive, and threatened to whip Jack- 
son ; made a show of doing so, etc. Jackson told him he 
had not bodily strength to fight him, nor would he do so, 
feeling conscious of his innocence, and retired to his cabin, 
telling him at the same time that, if he insisted on fighting, 
he would give him gentlemanly satisfaction, or words to 
that effect. Upon Jackson's return out of the house, Cap- 
tain Robards said he did not care for him nor his wife — 
abusing them both ; that he was determined not to live with 
Mrs. Robards. Jackson retired from the family, and went 
to live at Mansker's station. Captain Robards remained 
several months with his wife, and then went to Kentucky 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 3 1 5 

in company with Mr. Thomas Cruthers and probably some 
other persons. 

"Soon after this affair Mrs. Robards went to live at 
Colonel's Hay's, who married her sister. After a short 
absence, I returned to live at Mrs. Donelson's, at her earnest 
entreaty — every family then desiring the association of 
male friends as a protection against the Indians. This took 
place, to the best of my recollection, in the spring of 1790. 

"Some time in the fall following there was a report 
afloat that Captain Robards intended to come down and 
take his wife to Kentucky. Whence the report originated 
I do not now recollect, but it created great uneasiness both 
with Mrs. Donelson and her daughter, Mrs. Robards — the 
latter of whom was much distressed, as she was convinced, 
after two fair trials, as she said, that it would be impossible 
to live with Captain Robards; and of this opinion was I, 
with all those I conversed with who were acquainted with 
the circumstances. Some time afterward, during the win- 
ter of 1791, Mrs. Donelson told me of her daughter's in- 
tention to go down the river to Natchez, to some of their 
friends, in order to keep out of the way of Captain Robards, 
as she said he had threatened to 'haunt her.' Knowing as 
I did, Captain Robards' unhappy, jealous disposition, and 
his temper growing out of it, I thought she was right to 
keep out of the way, though I do not believe that I so ex- 
pressed myself to the old lady or to any other person. 

"The whole affair gave Jackson great uneasiness, and 
this will not appear strange to one as well acquainted with 
his character as I was. Continually together during our 
attendance on wilderness courts, whilst other young men 
were indulging in familiarities with females of relaxed 
morals, no suspicion of this kind of the world's censure 
ever fell to Jackson's share. In this, in his singularly deli- 
cate sense of honor, and in what I thought his chivalrous 
conceptions of the female sex, it occurred to me that he 
was distinguished from every other person with whom I was 

"About the time of Mrs. Donelson's communication to 
me respecting her daughter's intention of going to Natchez, 
I perceived in Jackson symptoms of more than usual con- 
cern. I determined to ascertain the cause, when he frankly 
told me that he was the most unhappy of men, in having 
innocently and unintentionally been the cause of the loss 
of peace and happiness of Mrs. Robards, whom he be- 
lieved to be a fine woman. In this I concurred with him, 
but remonstrated on the propriety of his not giving him- 
self any uneasiness about it. It was not long after this be- 
fore he communicated to me his intention of going to Natchez 

3 1 6 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

with Colonel Stark with whom Mrs. Robards was to 
descend the river, saying that she had no friend or relation 
that would go with her or assist in preventing Stark and 
his family and Mrs. Robards from being massacred by the 
Indians, then in a state of war and exceedingly trouble- 
some. Accordingly, Jackson, in company with Mrs. Ro- 
bards and Colonel Stark, a venerable and highly esteemed 
old man, and friend of Mrs. Robards, went down the river 
from Nashville to Natchez, some time in the winter or 
spring of 1791. It was not, however, without the urgent 
entreaties of Colonel Stark, who wanted protection from 
the Indians, that Jackson consented to accompany them; 
of which I had heard before Jackson's conversation with 
me already alluded to. 

"Previously to Jackson's starting, he committed all his 
law business to me, at the same time assuring me, that as 
soon as he should see Colonel Stark and family and Mrs. 
Robards situated with their friends in the neighborhood of 
Natchez, he would return and resume his practice. He 
descended the river, returned from Natchez to Nashville, 
and was at the Superior Court in the latter place in May, 
1791, attending to his business as a lawyer and solicitor 
general for the government. About, or shortly after this 
time, we were informed that a divorce had been granted by 
the Legislature of Virginia, through the influence, princi- 
pally, of Captain Robards' brother-in-law, Major John 
Jouett, who was probably in the Legislature at that time. 

"This application had been anticipated by me. The 
divorce was understood by the people of this country to 
have been granted by the Legislature of Virginia in the 
winter of 1790-1791. I was in Kentucky in the summer 
of 1791, remained at old Mrs. Robards', my former place 
of residence part of my time, and never understood other- 
wise than that Captain Robards' divorce was final, until the 
latter part of the year 1793. In the summer of 1791, Gen- 
eral Jackson went to Natchez, and, I understood, married 
Mrs. Robards, then believed to be freed from Captain Ro- 
bards, by the divorce in the fall of 1791. They returned 
to Nashville and settled in the neighborhood of it, where 
they have lived ever since, beloved and esteemed by all 

"About the month of December, 1793, after General 
Jackson and myself had started to Jonesborough, in East 
Tennessee, where we practiced law, I learned for the first 
time that Captain Robards had applied to Mercer Court, 
in Kentucky, for a divorce, which had then recently been 
granted, and that the Legislature had not absolutely granted 
a divorce, but left it for the court to do. I need not express 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 3 1 7 

my surprise, on learning that the act of the Virginia Leg- 
islature had not divorced Captain Robards. I informed 
General Jackson of it, who was equally surprised ; and dur- 
ing our conversation, I suggested the propriety of his pro- 
curing a license on his return home, and having the mar- 
riage ceremony again performed, so as to prevent all future 
caviling on the subject. 

"To this suggestion, he replied, that he had long since 
been married on the belief that a divorce had been obtained, 
which was the understanding of every person in the coun- 
try ; nor was it without difficulty he could be induced to be- 
lieve otherwise. 

"On our return home from Jonesboro, in January, 1794, 
to Nashville, a license was obtained, and the marriage cere- 
mony performed. 

"The slowness and inaccuracy with which information 
was received in West Tennessee at that time will not be 
surprising, when we consider its insulated and dangerous 
situation, surrounded on every side by the wilderness, and 
by hostile Indians, and that there was no mail established 
till about 1797, as well as I recollect. 

'Since the year 1791, General Jackson and myself have 
never been much apart, except when he was in the army. 
I have been intimate in his family, and from the mutual and 
uninterrupted happiness of the General and Mrs. Jackson, 
which I have at all times witnessed with pleasure, as well 
as those delicate and polite attentions which have ever been 
reciprocated between them, I have been long confirmed in 
the opinion, that there never existed any other than what 
was believed to be the most honorable and virtuous inter- 
course between them. Before their going to Natchez, I 
had daily opportunities to being convinced that there was 
none other; before being married in the Natchez country, 
after it was understood that a divorce had been granted by 
the Legislature of Virginia, it is believed there was none." 


"Mr. Craighead and myself came to this country about 
forty-two years ago, and Mrs. Donelson, the mother of Mrs. 
Jackson, and family, came and settled at the Clover Bottom 
in Davidson County, Tennessee, the same year. With the 
family of Mrs. Donelson, I was well and intimately 
acquainted — indeed, my family had a knowledge of the Don- 
elson connection for about seven years. The whole family 
were respectable, and I lived in habits of intimacy with 
Mrs. Donelson during her life, and with Mrs. Jackson 

3 1 8 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

nearly forty years. The character of Mrs. Donelson, the 
mother of Mrs. Jackson, was without blemish, and her 
standing in society was inferior to that of no lady in the 
country. She respected religion while she lived and died in 
the hope of a happy hereafter. 

"Mrs. Jackson, then Mrs. Robards, was brought to this 
country from Kentucky by one of her brothers a few years 
after the family had settled themselves here, in conse- 
quence, as I understood, of the cruel treatment of her hus- 
band, who was said to be a man of jealous disposition and 
vicious habits. This was manifested by the suspicions he 
entertained of the improper conduct of his wife. At the 
time she lived with him, at the house of his mother in Ken- 
tucky, an attorney of the name of Short, also boarded with 
the old lady. With regard to the unhappy difference which 
took place between Robards and his wife, it was believed 
that it arose from the circumstance of Short's living in the 
same family with Mrs. Robards and showing her perhaps 
a little more than ordinary politeness. James Brown, my 
brother, who is now at Paris in France, came to this coun- 
try shortly after Mrs. Robards arrived from Kentucky, and, 
speaking of her, deeply regretted her misfortunes. He said 
that he believed her to be a chaste and virtuous woman, and 
gave as a reason for thinking so, that he was intimate with 
Mr. Short, and had conversed with him particularly in re- 
spect to Mrs. Robards — that he assured him in the strong- 
est and most solemn terms that Mrs. Robards was a worthy, 
virtuous woman, and that the suspicions of her husband 
were entirely unfounded, cruel and ungenerous. 

"Mrs. Robards, after having been driven from her moth- 
er-in-law's by the cruel treatment of her husband, Captain 
Robards, lived with her mother, Mrs. Donelson, several 
years, and conducted herself with the greatest propriety, 
entirely withdrawing herself from all places of public 
amusement, such as balls, parties, etc. About two years 
after his wife left Kentucky Robards 'came to this country 
for the purpose of being reconciled to her. He made every 
acknowledgment, and appeared to be quite penitent for 
his past conduct, stating, as I understood at the time, that 
he did not blame his wife for leaving him and coming to 
live with her mother. Shortly after his arrival, by the in- 
terference of friends and acquaintances, she agreed to live 
with him on condition that he would settle himself in her 
mother's neighborhood, to which he gave his consent and 
actually purchased a tract of land. After they became re- 
conciled, Mrs. Donelson for the first time took into her 
house as boarders several young gentlemen, there being 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 3 1 9 

then few if any regular boarding houses or taverns, among 
whom were Judge Overton and General Jackson. Having 
agreed to live together, Robards went back to Kentucky for 
the purpose of moving his property to this country. Upon 
his return, having found General Jackson in the family, his 
jealousies appeared to revive. This was more particularly 
manifested towards General Jackson in consequence, I sup- 
pose, of his gay, sprightly disposition and courteous man- 
ners. From my acquaintance with Mrs. Jackson I have no 
hesitation in stating it as my firm belief that his suspicions 
were entirely groundless. No lady ever conducted herself 
in a more becoming manner during the whole of that period. 
I have lived in a few miles of Mrs. Jackson ever since that 
time (with the exception of about two years), and have 
been intimate with her, and can say that no lady maintains 
a better character or is more exemplary in her deportment 
or more beloved by her friends and neighbors. 

"Elizabeth Craighead." 

When the election news of 1828 made it certain that 
General Jackson was elected President, Mrs. Jackson made 
one comment that has lived down to our day, and will con- 
tinue to live along with the memory of Andrew Jackson. 
She said, "Well, for Mr. Jackson's sake, I am glad ; for my 
own part, I never wished it." She was at that time sixty- 
one years old and not in good health, and died on December 
22d, following the election in November. We do not have 
to travel very far or search very deep to find the reason 
why one American woman did not care to be the "first lady 
in the land," and preside at the White House. Her health 
was one thing, but another and far more influential thing 
was that having been made a party defendant, so to speak, 
in a presidential election, with all of its virulence and in- 
famy, and knowing that in the White House she would be 
"in that fierce light that beats upon a throne," the woman 
shrank back, and who could blame her for so doing. Bring- 
ing her into the presidential election of 1828 was one of the 
many infamous things in American politics, and from fur- 
ther assaults upon her personal appearance, education and 
character she was saved by the Grim Reaper that took her 
into a country where presidential politics are not supposed 
to be. General Jackson's devotion to her was supreme. He 
built her a church in a few hundred yards of the Hermitage, 

320 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

and always and everywhere showed her an affection that 
caused general admiration. After the battle of New Or- 
leans, she went by steamboat with the adopted son, Andrew 
Jackson, Jr., to New Orleans, and there in the midst of the 
most select society in America, at that time, and when Jack- 
son was living in a blaze of martial glory, his devotion to 
her was as pronounced as ever. Whatever might be her de- 
fects of education, or otherwise, her husband did not see 
them, and he showed to the world that to him she was the 
first and best woman in the world. This devotion to his wife 
is one of the things that has brought "Old Hickory's" mem- 
ory down to us portrayed in colors that will endure. 


In August, 1828, a young man twenty-two years old, 
with a law license in his pocket, left his home on the 
eastern shore of Virginia, on his way to Nashville, Tennes- 
see, to be married, and, as he then thought, to be there set- 
tled for life. The young man was Henry A. Wise, who 
afterwards held various high positions, and was Governor 
of Virginia. On October 8th, following, he was married in 
Nashville to the daughter of Dr. 0. Jennings, the Presby- 
terian pastor of Andrew Jackson, and as General and Mrs. 
Jackson were warm friends' of Dr. Jennings, the General 
promptly commanded that the bride and groom should spend 
their honeymoon at the Hermitage, which invitation was 
accepted, and they went to the Hermitage the next day. 
Henry A. Wise, the bridegroom, was born in Virginia, De- 
cember 3, 1806, and died at Richmond, Va., September 12, 
1876. He was a Democratic member of Congress from 
Virginia 1833-1844; United States Minister to Brazil 1844- 
1847 ; elected on the Anti-Know-Nothing ticket Governor of 
Virginia, and served 1856-1860 ; opposed Secession, but fol- 
lowed his State into the Confederacy, and became Brigadier- 
General in the Confederate Army. 

In his political career, Governor Wise was generally 
Democratic, but he never wore the party harness closely, 
and was accustomed to criticise men and measures on his 
own side whenever he thought criticism was due. He was 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 32 1 

a man of high intellectual power, had a college education, 
was bold and self-reliant in all of his actions, and there is 
probably due him more for the overthrow of the Know- 
Nothing party than any other one man in America. His 
canvass for Governor of Virginia was for the purpose of 
crushing Know-Nothingism, and he succeeded, and the 
party died after Wise was elected Governor, and has never 
been resurrected since. 

When he was about sixty-five years of age, with a long, 
active and distinguished public career behind him, and with 
a maturity of experience that made his opinions valuable, 
he wrote a book entitled, "Seven Decades of the Union," 
which covers the period in our national life from 1790 to 
1862, and which contains historical matter not to be found 
in any other work. The book is unique in the penetrating 
light it throws upon many men and events in the period it 
covers ; it speaks from personal knowledge and actual obser- 
vation. He was a close observer and admitted to confiden- 
tial relations in Tyler's administration, and was on intimate 
terms with General Jackson and his family. The opinions 
of Governor Wise, therefore, of General Jackson and Mrs. 
Jackson and their household at the Hermitage, give us with 
photographic accuracy just what he saw there in the happy 
days of his honeymoon as the guest of "Old Hickory." 

Considering Governor Wise's book as the very highest 
and best authority as to the Hermitage and its inmates, free 
quotations will be made from it. In getting material for 
this work we have consulted some twenty thousand pages 
of books, magazines and pamphlets, as well as old news- 
papers and letters, for the purpose of finding out, if possi- 
ble, the real Andrew Jackson, the real Rachel Donelson 
Jackson, the real Hermitage, and what went on there, and 
Governor Wise's picture of them all is the best. And to 
ascertain how accurate his picture is, let the reader peruse 
carefully everything he says, and note the details of the 
scene he lays before us of life at a country home near Nash- 
ville eighty-nine years ago. 

Governor Wise's book was published in 1872, and is out 
of print. The author knows of but three copies of it, one in 
the Congressional Library at Washington, and one in the 

322 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Lawson McGhee Library at Knoxville, and one belonging to 
the author. Another edition ought to be brought out by 
somebody, and in order that at least the part here quoted 
may be revived, it will be laid before the reader just as 
Governor Wise wrote it. 


"His presence immediately struck us by its majestic, 
commanding mien. He was about six feet high, slender in 
form, long and straight in lim'b, a little rounded in the 
shoulders, but stood gracefully erect. His hair, not then 
white, but venerably gray, stood more erect than his per- 
son; not long, but evenly cut, and each particular hair 
stood forth for itself a radius from a high and full-orbed 
head, chiseled with every mark of massive strength ; his 
brow was deep, but not heavy, and underneath its porch of 
the cranium were deep-set, clear, small, blue eyes, which 
scintillated a light of quick perception like lightning, and 
then there was no fierceness in them. His cheek-bones were 
strong, and his jaw was rather 'lantern;' the nose was 
straight, long and Grecian; the uper lip, the only heavy fea- 
ture of his face, and his nasal muscle somewhat ghastly 
and ugly, but his mouth showed rocklike firmness, and his 
chin was manly as that of Mars. His teeth were long, as if 
the alveolar process had been absorbed, and w r ere loose, and 
gave an ugly, ghastly expression to his nasal muscle. His 
chest was flat and broad. He was unreserved in conversa- 
tion, talked volubly and with animation, somewhat vehement 
and declamatory, though with perfect dignity and self-pos- 
session. He evidently wished to impress himself upon his 
visitors, but without any air of affectation, and his intent 
manner asserted his superiority. He hesitated not to dis- 
sent from any remark or opinion which called for contra- 
diction; but he was extremely polite, though positive, in 
the extreme. He knew Dr. Wylie, and had the highest re- 
spect for his character and reverence for his religious pro- 
fession of the Presbyterian faith. We were not awed by 
his presence, but intently studied him, and we augured his 
greatness from his looks and words, which drew us close 
up to him. 

"We arrived at the Hermitage to dinner, and were shown 
to a bridal chamber magnificently furnished with articles 
which were the rich and costly presents of the city of New 
Orleans to its noble defender. 

'Had we not seen General Jackson before, we would have 
taken him for a visitor, not the host of the mansion. He 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 323 

greeted us cordially, and bade us feel at home, but gave us 
distinctly to understand that he took no trouble to look 
after any but his lady guests; as for the gentlemen, there 
were the parlor, the dining-room, the library, the sideboard 
and its refreshments ; there were the servants, and, if any- 
thing was wanting, all that was necessary was to ring. He 
was as good as his word. He did not sit at the head of his 
table, but mingled with his guests, and always preferred 
a seat between two ladies, obviously seeking a chair between 
different ones at various times. He was very easy and 
graceful in his attentions; free, and often playful, but 
always dignified and earnest, in his conversation. He was 
quick to perceive every point of word or manner, was gra- 
cious in approval, but did not hesitate to dissent with cour- 
tesy when he differed. He obviously had a hidden vein of 
humor, loved aphorism, and could politely convey a sense of 
smart travesty. If put upon his metal, he was very positive, 
but gravely respectful. He conversed freely, and seemed to 
be absorbed in attention to what the ladies were saying, but 
if a word of note was uttered at any distance from him 
audibly, he caught it by a quick and pertinent comment, 
without losing or leaving the subject about which he was 
talking to another person — such was his ease of sociability 
without levity or lightness of activity, and without being 
oracular or heavy in his remarks. He had great power of 
attention and concentration, without being prying, curt, or 
brusque. Strong good sense and warm kindness of manner 
put every word of his pleasantly and pointedly in its right 
place. He conversed wonderfully well, and at times pro- 
nounced incorrectly and misused words ; and it was remark- 
able, too, that when he did so it was with emphasis on the 
error of speech, and he would give it a marked prominence 
in diction. 

''The first or second evening of our stay, Mr. Lee had 
drawn around him his usual crowd of listeners ; but we were 
the more special guest of Mrs. Jackson. She was a descend- 
ant of Colonel Charles Stokely, of our native county, Acco- 
mack, Virginia, and we had often seen his old mansion, an 
old Hanoverian hip-roofed house, standing on the seaside, 
not far from Metompkin ; and she had often heard her 
mother talk of the old Assawaman Church, not far above 
Colonel Stokely's house, pulled down long before our day, 
endowed with its silver communion-service by our great- 
grandfather, George Douglass, Esq., of Assawaman. Thus 
she was not only a good Presbyterian, whose pastor's daugh- 
ter was the bride, and she a Presbyterian too, but the groom 
was from the county of her ancestors, in Virginia, and could 

324 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

tell her something about traditions she had heard of the 
family from which she sprung. With pious devotion to her 
mother's family, she desired to have a talk with us partic- 
ularly, and formed a cosy group of quiet chat in the north- 
east corner room leading to the garden. The room had a 
north window, diagonal from the door leading to the gar- 
den. At this door her group was formed, fronting, in a 
semicircle, this north widow of the room, the garden door 
on our right. First, on our right, next the window, was old 
Judge Overton, one of General Jackson's earliest and best 
friends. He was a man who had made his mark in law and 
politics, but was not pious and was a queer-looking little 
old man. Small in stature, and cut into sharp angles at 
every salient point, a round, prominent, gourd-like, bald 
cranium, a peaked, Roman nose, a prominent, sharp, but 
manly chin, and he had lost his teeth and swallowed his lips. 
'There was danger,' as Mr. Phillip Doddridge once said of 
his own nose and chin, 'of their coming together, for many 
sharp words had passed between them!' Next to him, on 
his left, sat General Jackson, his hair always standing 
straight up and out, but he in his mildest mood of social 
suavity ; on his left the Reverend Dlr. Jennings, one of the 
sweetest men in society, very distinguished as a lawyer first, 
and then as a divine, with a rare sense of humor which even 
his religious zeal could not always repress, and yet awfully 
earnest and severe against all levity; on his left was Mrs. 
Jackson, a lady who, doubtless, was once a form of rotund 
and rubicund beauty, but now was very plethoric and obese, 
and seemingly suffered from what was called phthisis, and 
talked low but quick, with a short and wheezing breath, the 
very personation of affable kindness and of a welcome as 
sincere and truthful as it was simple and tender; on her 
left was ourself, responding to her every inquiry about 
things her mother had handed down concerning the Stokely 
family. On our left sat Henry Baldwin, the son of Judge 
Baldwin, of the Supreme Court of the United States, one 
"Of the groomsmen, a gentleman of fine culture, good sense, 

and taste ; and on his left was sweet Mary , one of 

the bridesmaids. Thus the dramatis personae sat in the 

"General Jackson was elected- President in the fall of 
1828. His domestic life had been scanned and scourged, 
and his beloved and honored wife had been most malig- 
nantly reviled and tortured by the forked tongues of his 
political opponents. She was happy in his love, and never 
aspired to the splendor of his fortune in life. She had fled 
to his manhood for protection and peace, and had been 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 325 

sheltered and saved by his gallant championship of the 
cause of woman. He, and he alone, was her all, and of him 
it may be truly said that, in respect to 'wassail, wine, and 
woman,' he was one of the purest men of his day, and that, 
too, in an age of rude habits and vulgar dissipation among 
the rough settlers of the West. He was temperate in drink, 
abstemious in diet, simple in tastes, polished in maners, ex- 
cept when aroused, and always preferred the society of 
ladies, with the most romantic, pure, and poetic devotion. 
He was never accused of indulging in any of the grosser 
vices, except that in early life he swore, horse-raced, and 
attended cock-fights. As for the wife of his bosom, she was 
a woman of spotless character, and an unassuming, consist- 
ent Christian : yet political rancor bitterly assailed her, and 
not content with defamation, endeavored to belittle her by 
the contemptuous appellation of 'Aunt Rachel,' and held her 
up to ridicule for 'smoking a corn-cob pipe.' She did prefer 
that form, not for the pleasure of smoking, but because a 
pipe was prescribed by her physician for her phthisis ; and 
she often rose in the night to smoke for relief. In a night 
of December, 1828, she rose to smoke, and caught cold whilst 
sitting in her night clothes ; and the story is that her system 
had been shocked by her overhearing reproaches of herself 
whilst waiting in a parlor at the Nashville Inn. She had 
said to a friend, upon the election of her husband, 'For Mr. 
Jackson's sake, I am glad ; for my own part, I never wished 
it. I assure you I had rather be a door-keeper in the house 
of my God than to live in that palace in Washington.' She 
was not allowed to live 'in that palace in Washington.' Be- 
fore the day of her husband's inauguration at the White 
House she was taken by her God to that 'house not made 
with hands, eternal in the heavens.' " 

Between two and three months after Governor Wise 
and his bride had left the Hermitage and gone back to Nash- 
ville, Mrs. Jackson was suddenly taken ill, and in a little 
while died, and the Governor paints the picture of the 
funeral : 

"Preparations were being made in Nashville to give 
him and his lady a grand reception and celebration of the 
anniversary of this his lucky day, and all eyes were bent 
towards the Hermitage to see the conquering hero, the then 
President, come with his cherished wife at his side, wlien 
lo ! a messenger on 'the White Horse' was seen, riding fast, 
to announce that his partner was — dead. She was no longer 
the afflicted, deserted one, whom he had championed and 

326 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee; History 

married and lived with in holy and lawful wedlock. She 
was no longer his angel bosom partner; she was no longer 
a target for this world's fiery darts of detraction — she was 
a saint. The day's gladness wias turned to earthly mourn- 
ing, and the day of the funeral came instead of the day of 

"Dr. Heiskell, of Winchester, Virginia, was just starting 
as a young physician in the neighborhood of the Hermitage, 
and was the first to minister to her relief, and attended 
until two eminent physicians were called in from Nashville. 
From him we learned that she had caught cold, and pleuritic 
symptoms supervened upon her constitutional nervous af- 
fections. She was sitting smoking her corncob pipe when 
she caught her last malady. 

"The day of burial came and we witnessed the solemn 
scene. This we can confidently testify that more sincere 
homage was done to her dead than was ever done to any 
woman in our day and country living. Thousands from 
the city and from all the country around flocked to her fun- 
eral. The poor white people, the slaves of the Hermitage 
and adjoining plantations, and the neighbors, crowded off 
the gentry of town and country, and filled the large garden 
in which the interment took place. She had been a Hannah 
and a Dorcas to every needy household. She had been 
more than mistress, a mother to her servants and depend- 
ents; and the richest and best were proud of the privilege 
of her sincere and simple friendship. She was, without 
question, loved and honored by high and low, white and 
black, bond and free, rich and poor, and that love was so 
unaffectedly expressed by a wail so loud and long that there 
was no mistaking its grief for the loss, not of the departed 
one, but of the living left behind her. From that same 
door of the northeast room of the house near which the 
happy bridal party sat but a few months before, her coffin 
was borne to the grave dug in the garden for her remains. 

"Following the pall-bearers came General Jackson, with 
his left hand in the arm of General Carroll, holding his cane 
in his right hand, not grasping it with the hand over the 
head, nor with the thumb up, but with the back of the hand 
up, and holding the point of the cane forward as he would 
have held a sword, and where he stopped at the pile of 
clay, its point rested on the clods. 

"The body was let down, 'dust to dust' was said, the 
grave was filled up and shaped into the common mound 
which covers poor mortality, and General Jackson was led 
away by General Carroll back to the northeast room. The 
crowd followed, and we got in near to the chief mourner. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 327 

Arriving fairly into the room, and pausing for a few mo- 
ments, he looked around him, and raising his voice, said: 
« 'Friends- and neighbors, I thank you for the honor 
you have done to the sainted one whose remains now repose 
in yonder grave. She is now in the bliss of heaven, and I 
know that she can suffer here no more on earth. That is 
enough for my consolation; my loss is her gain. But I am 
left without her, to encounter the trials of life alone. I am 
now the President-elect of the United States, and in a 
short time must take my way to. the metropolis of my 
country; and, if it has been God's will, I would have been 
grateful for the privilege of taking her to my post of 
honor and seating her by my side; but Providence knew 
what was best for her. For myself, I bow to God's will, 
and go alone to the place of new and arduous duties, and 
I shall not go without friends to reward, and I pray God 
that I may not be allowed to have enemies to punish. I can 
forgive all who have wronged me, but will have fervently to 
pray that I may have grace to enable me to forget or for- 
give any enemy who has ever maligned that blessed one 
who is now safe from all suffering and sorrow, whom they 
tried to put to shame for my sake!" 

May the author be pardoned if he joins Governor Wise 
in rescuing from oblivion his kinsman, Dr. Heiskell, who 
was the first physician to attend Mrs. Jackson? His full 
name was Dr. Henry Lee Heiskell, and he was born in 
Winchester, Virginia, March 16, 1803, and graduated in 
medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 1828. Gen- 
eral Jackson appointed him Assistant Surgeon in the United 
States Army on July 13, 1832, and he served in the Seminole 
War in 1835-1837. On July 7, 1838, he was appointed a 
surgeon in the army with the rank of Major and was as- 
signed as Assistant to Surgeon-General Lawson. On June 
9, 1842, he married Elizabeth Gouveneur of New York, 
granddaughter of President James Monroe. He died Au- 
gust 12, 1855. 


General Jackson built a church for his wife in 1823, on 
the Hermitage Farm, a short distance from the Mansion, 
and Mrs. Jackson joined the church in 1824 when she was 
fifty-seven years old. From time to time, down to her death 
in December, 1828, she urged General Jackson to join her 
church, and his answer has come down to us. He told her 

328 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

that he could not join the church then, for if he did, it 
would be said all over the country by his enemies that he 
had joined for political effect, but that when he was clear 
of politics, he would join the church, and he made his word 
good. There is no one thing in the life of "Old Hickory" 
more characteristic than this; and for nothing do we ac- 
cord him more sincere respect. The reason given to his 
wife demonstrates that there was no hypocrisy in his make- 
up, and that he would not place himself in the attitude where 
his enemies could charge hypocrisy on him, however sin- 
cere his joining the church might be. He went out of the 
presidential office in 1837, and in 1839 joined the Her- 
mitage Church. After the death of Mrs. Jackson the church 
was not able to sustain itself, although it had been incor- 
porated into the Presbytery; but after the General joined, 
it was reorganized and rendered effective church service 
down to the time of his death. 

Only one funeral has ever been preached in the Her- 
mitage Church, and that was the funeral of Colonel An- 
drew Jackson, III, who was born and raised at the Her- 
mitage; graduated at West Point; was a Colonel in the 
Confederate Army, serving at Vicksburg, and died at Knox- 
ville, Tennessee, December 16th, 1906. It would seem per- 
fectly in accord with the fitness of things that a Jackson 
or a Donelson should be buried from the Hermitage Church. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 329 



The War of 1812 began with the declaration of hostili- 
ties by the United States June 12, 1812, and on June 25th, 
through Willie Blount, Governor of Tennessee, General 
Jackson offered to the President his services as Major Gen- 
eral of Tennessee militia and twenty-five hundred Tennes- 
see volunteers. On July 11 the Secretary of War replied 
and accepted the offer and in his reply to Governor Blount, 
he paid Jackson the compliment of saying, "In accepting 
their services the President cannot withhold an expression 
of his admiration of the zeal and ardor by which they are 
animated." On October 21st, Governor Blount was request- 
ed by the government to send fifteen hundred of the Ten- 
nessee volunteers to the aid of General Wilkinson at New 
Orleans, and on November 1st Governor Blount ordered 
General Jackson to comply with the government's com- 

Jackson now entered upon the military career for which 
he thought himself fitted by nature and for which he ar- 
dently wished. At the time he defeated John Sevier for 
Major General of the Tennessee militia by the casting vote 
of Governor Willie Blount, he had taken little if any part 
in military matters, and this, connected with the fact that 
Sevier had been a military man all of his lifetime, intensi- 
fied the bitterness of Jackson's victory over him. Jackson's 
military ambition and the success that he achieved as a 
commander of troops was finally to land him in the White 
House, and not only to make him President of the United 
States, but a maker of Presidents ; the era of his dominat- 
ing influence being known as "the Jackson era," and em- 
bracing the time when Tennessee was politically the most 
influential State in the Union, a position that the State had 
never achieved before, and has never since. We are nat- 
urally interested, therefore, in Jackson's first communica- 

330 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

tion to his troops on this occasion, it being the first of the 
many addresses in his military career that he made to men 
under his command. This is his inital military address : 



"In publishing the letter of Governor Blount,* the Major 
General makes known to the valiant volunteers who have 
tendered their services, everything which is necessary for 
them at this time to know. In requesting the. officers of 
the respective companies to meet in Nashville, on the 21st 
inst., the Governor expects to have the benefit of their ad- 
vice in recommending the field officers, who are to be se- 
lected from among the officers who have already volun- 
teered; also to fix upon the time when the expedition shall 
move, to deliver the definite instructions, and to commis- 
sion the officers in the name of the President of the United 
States. Companies which do not contain sixty-six rank and 
file are required to complete their complement to that num- 
ber. A second lieutenant should be added where the com- 
pany contains but one. 

"The Major General has now arrived at a crisis when 
he can address the volunteers with the feelings of a soldier. 
The State to which he belongs is now to act a part in the 
honorable contest of securing the rights and liberties of 
a great and rising republic. In placing before the volunteers 
the illustrious actions of their fathers in the war of the 
Revolution, he presumes to hope that they will not prove 
themselves a degenerate race, nor suffer it to be said that 
they are unworthy of the blessing which the blood of so 
many thousand heroes has purchased for them. The theater 
on which they are required to act is interesting to them in 
every point of view. Every man of the western country 
turns his eyes intuitively upon the mouth of the Mississ- 
ippi. He there beholds the only outlet by which his produce 
can reach the markets of foreign nations or of the Atlan- 
tic States. Blocked up, all the fruits of his industry rot 
upon his hands; open, and he carries on a commerce with 
all the nations of the earth. To the people of the western 
country is then peculiarly committed, by nature, herself, 
the defense of the lower Mississippi and the city of New 
Orleans. At the approach of an enemy in that quarter the 
whole western world should pour forth its sons to meet the 
invader and drive him back into the sea. Brave volunteers, 
it is to the defense of this place, so interesting to you, that 
you are now ordered to repair. Let us show ourselves con- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee; History 331 

scious of the honor and importance of the charge which 
has been committed to us. By the alacrity with which we 
obey the orders of the President let us demonstrate to our 
brothers in all parts of the Union that the people of Tennes- 
see are worthy of being called to the defense of the Republic. 

"The Generals of Brigade attached to the Second Di- 
vision will communicate these orders to the officers com- 
manding volunteer companies with all possible dispatch, 
using expresses, and forwarding a statement of the expense 
to the Major General. 

"Andrew Jackson, 
"Major General Second Division T." 

"November 14, 1812." 

Each volunteer was expected to furnish his own rifle, 
ammunition, camp equipment and blankets, for which it was 
expected that the government would make an allowance 
subsequently. The General gave a description of the uni- 
form permissible for the men to wear. 

The expedition was organized as follows : Andrew Jack- 
son, Major General, commanding; John Coffee, Colonel in 
charge of a regiment of cavalry ; William Hall, Colonel one 
regiment of infantry; Thomas H. Benton, Colonel one regi- 
ment infantry; William B. Lewis, Major and quartermas- 
ter; William Carroll, subsequently General and Governor 
of Tennessee, Brigade Inspector; and John Reid, Aide and 
Secretary to the General. The troops comprised men from 
some of the very best families in Tennessee. Jackson wrote 
to the Secretary of War: "I have the pleasure to inform you 
that I am now at the head of 2,070 volunteers, the choicest 
of our citizens, who go at the call of their country to ex- 
ecute the will of the government, who have no constitu- 
tional scruples ; and if the government orders, will rejoice 
at the opportunity of placing the American eagle on the 
ramparts of Mobile, Pensacola, and Fort St. Augustine, 
effectually banishing from the southern coasts all British 

On February 15, 1813, after traveling a thousand miles 
by water in thirty-nine days, the expedition came to Natchez 
where Colonel John Coffee and his cavalry who had taken 
the land route, had already arrived. The expedition never 
got any further than Natchez for the reason that General 

332 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Wilkinson, who was in command at New Orleans, and was 
Jackson's superior officer, wrote Jackson that the govern- 
ment had provided neither quarters nor provisions for the 
expedition at New Orleans ; hence there was nothing to 
be done except employ the waiting time in drilling the vol- 
unteers, and making trained soldiers out of them. So things 
went on, until the latter part of March, when the General 
received an order from the War Department as follows: 

"War Department, February 6, 1813. 

"Sir: The causes of embodying and marching to New 
Orleans the corps under your command having ceased to 
exist, you will, on the receipt of this letter, consider it as 
dismissed from public service, and take measures to have 
delivered over to Major General Wilkinson all the articles 
of public property which may have been put into its pos- 

"You will accept for the corps the thanks of the Presi- 
dent of the United States. 

"I have the honor, etc., 
"Major General Andrew Jackson. "J. Armstrong." 

And so this was to be the end of all the ambitious hopes 
of the General and volunteers to serve their country ! Never 
in all military history were hopes more utterly dashed to 
pieces. The little army was five hundred miles away from 
home, and the overland route back was through a wilder- 
ness; there were one hundred and fifty men on the sick 
list, and only eleven wagons at hand. Verily, it was a very 
trying test for the Major General, but he rose fully equal 
to it and demonstrated that power of will, that masterful- 
ness which characterized all of his future life, and which 
eventually made him one of the great characters in Amer- 
ican history. Jackson's will power was the source of all of 
his success, and it never failed him. The man's magnificent 
confidence in himself, his courage which never knew what 
fear was, his devotion to the cause in hand that never wav- 
ered — these qualities made him the accepted leader of the 
American people from 1825 until his death in 1845, and 
generated a confidence of the people that was both wonder- 
ful and supreme. 

It did not take Jackson a minute to decide that he would 
disobey the orders of the Secretary of War: he would not 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 333 

disband his men, he would not turn over his equipment to 
Major General Wilkinson, he would retain this equipment, 
he would hold his men together under his command, he 
would march them back to Tennessee, and disband them in 
the City of Nashville whence the expedition started; and 
he did all of this, and the world has admired him for it 
ever since, and acclaimed him as a man among men. 

On the road h&me, the greatest problem was what to 
do with the sick men ; Jackson himself gave up his horses 
that were in the expedition for his personal use, and trudged 
along over the weary miles like a common soldier, cheer- 
ing his men up as he went along. No wonder that on this 
expedition he was given the title "Old Hickory" by his 
men; he showed the materials within him and the men 
thought hickory was the best symbol for them. On May 
22, 1813, the little army was drawn up in Nashville, and 
commanded to disburse to their homes, and so the expedi- 
tion ended, from a military standpoint. 

But there was a financial story to follow. In order to 
procure equipment for the return trip, General Jackson 
gave orders on the quartermaster's department at New Or- 
leans to the men who furnished him horses and wagons and 
provisions necessary for the trip home, and these orders 
were repudiated by the quartermaster's department, there- 
by making Jackson personally responsible for them to the 
extent of about twelve thousand dollars, which somebody 
must pay, and for which Jackson was primarily responsi- 
ble. Suit was threatened at Nashville, and Thomas H. Ben- 
ton right then was about to go to Washington to procure 
an appointment in the regular army of the United States, 
and he undertook on this trip to get the government to pay 
off these orders, and was finally successful in his mission, 
and also successful in getting a commission as Lieutenant 
Colonel in the new southern army which w r as then being or- 
ganized. The Secretary of War gave an order to General 
Wilkinson at New Orleans to pay for such transportation 
as General Jackson w r as entitled to on this return trip. 

It is perfectly safe to say that it was this very kind 
service rendered by Benton to Jackson which saved Jack- 
son, if not from bankruptcy, at least from very serious finan- 

334 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

cial embarrassment, that was the source of the affray be- 
tween Jackson and Thomas H. Benton and his brother Jesse, 
after the former got back to Nashville. 

The difficulty with the Bentons was brought about by 
General Jackson, and was one of the most serious mistakes 
he made in all of his career, and one which nearly cost him 
his life. It originated in his attempt to carry out his threat 
which he had made to horsewhip Thomas H. Benton. The 
facts leading up to the affray with the Bentons were these : 

William Carroll, Brigade Inspector of the Natchez ex- 
pedition, was challenged by Jesse Benton to fight a duel for 
a cause that no historian has seen proper to state. Sur- 
mises of the cause have been indulged in but we have no 
evidence. On coming to Tennessee Carroll had established 
a hardware store in Nashville, as a branch of the hardware 
house in Pittsburg conducted by his father and Albert Gal- 
latin. Albert Gallatin had sent a letter of introduction of 
young William Carroll to General Jackson, which made 
Jackson at once his friend. On receiving the challenge to 
the duel, Carroll went out to the Hermitage and asked Gen- 
eral Jackson to be his second, to which the General de- 
murred. Carroll, by way of argument, said that a clique 
had been formed to run him out of Nashville. General 
Jackson thereupon accompanied him back to Nashville, and 
called on Jesse Benton to accommodate the situation if he 
could, in a friendly way, and thought he had succeeded 
when he left the conference with Benton ; but later Benton 
refused to withdraw his challenge, so there was nothing 
for Carroll to do but fight, and Jackson agreed to become 
his second on the field of honor. 

The very strong probabilities are that Jesse Benton 
was persuaded by Jackson's enemies not to accept the apolo- 
gy from Carroll which Jackson bore to Benton, in order 
that out of the trouble which was sure to follow the duel, 
Thomas H. Benton might be induced to take part, and be 
the means of killing Jackson, which was the thing his ene- 
mies wanted, but down to that time did not know how to 
bring about. 

The duel came off, and a part of Carroll's thumb was 
shot off, and Jesse Benton received a flesh wound in a part 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 335 

of his body that caused a great many jests among the peo- 
ple of Nashville afterwards; and of course the news, dis- 
torted, garbled, magnified, and false as to Jackson's part 
in the duel, was communicated to Thomas H. Benton, who 
got furiously angry. That anger was very natural, con- 
sidering that he was just returned home from a trip to 
Washington where he had practically saved Jackson from 
bankruptcy ; and on his return to find that Jackson, on the 
field of honor, had done as Jackson's enemies reported to 
Benton, very naturally excited Benton to the highest pitch 
of rage. To Jackson's credit be it said that he accepted the 
hostile words that Benton said about him at first with very 
considerable forbearance, and did not assume the aggres- 
sive, or take steps that might lead to difficulty until his pa- 
tience could stand it no longer. 

Before Benton started to Washington in Jackson's in- 
terest, the two men had been on good terms, but not such 
intimate terms as would without more have excited Ben- 
ton to great rage on learning that Jackson had been a sec- 
ond in a duel in which Jesse Benton took part. It was the 
overwhelming favor kindly and voluntarily done Jackson 
on the trip to Washington, intensified by the aggravating 
account given to Benton by Jackson's enemies, that en- 
raged Colonel Benton. When Jackson made the threat to 
horsewhip Colonel Benton, that threat had to be carried 
out, or Jackson be branded with fear of attempting it; so 
on September 4, 1913, General Jackson, accompanied by 
Colonel Coffee, approached Benton standing in front of the 
City Hotel in Nashville, and drawing a cowhide, started 
to carry his threat into execution, and this, of course, pro- 
duced war. Colonel Coffee and Stokely Hayes helped Gen- 
eral Jackson, and Jesse Benton, his brother. The fight was 
carried on from the front back into the hotel. Shots were 
exchanged, dirks were drawn, General Jackson from a shot 
was felled to the floor, and Thomas H. Benton, in back- 
ing away, fell down a pair of steps. The wonder is that all 
of the combatants were not killed. The exact facts of the 
part taken by each of the several combatants cannot be 
given; the statements afterwards made by some of them 
were contradictory and confused. The two Bentons were 

336 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

armed with pistols, heavily loaded, and Colonel Coffee had 
a pistol. General Jackson was able to be taken home, and 
his wound was very serious, and gave him trouble for a 
long time afterwards. General Jackson never made a state- 
ment about the affair or talked about it. The ball was taken 
from his shoulder by two surgeons in Washington City 
July 14, 1832, nineteen years after Benton fired the shot. 


After this fight with Jackson, Benton was appointed 
Lieutenant Colonel in the regular army of the United States, 
and left Tennessee, and at the close of the war went to 
Missouri, and made it his home down to the time of his 
death on April 10, 1858, in the city of Washington. He never 
met Jackson after the fight until 1823, when both were 
members of the United States Senate, and friendly relations 
were resumed between them. Benton served "Missouri for 
thirty years in the United States Senate — from 1820 to 1850 
— and was elected to Congress in 1852 — and became one of 
the great men of the Union, ranking with Webster, Clay 
and Calhoun. After Jackson became President, he was the 
leading advocate of his administration on the floor of the 
Senate, and continued a warm friend of Jackson until the 
latter's death, in June 1845. 

As time goes forward, and the historians come to criti- 
cally examine the record of Colonel Benton, his great nat- 
ural intellectual power, his vast learning connected with 
government and public affairs, his limitless industry, his 
perfect fearlessness, his lofty patriotism, his indomitable 
will and integrity of character, his place among American 
statesmen will not be lessened, but magnified, and he will 
be recognized as one of the greatest men America has ever 


k After his death a statue was erected to Colonel Benton in 
the city of St. Louis, and General Frank P. Blair was the 
speaker selected to deliver the oration at the unveiling. 
General Blair and Colonel Benton are the two citizens of 
Missouri whose statues have been presented by that State 

Statues of Sam Houston and Thomas H. Benton, Statuary Hall, Capitol, 
Washington, D. C. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 337 

to the United States, and are in Statuary Hall at Washing- 
ton. Benton's statue was presented by Missouri to the gov- 
ernment on February 4, 1899. Blair was the Democratic 
nominee for vice president on the ticket Seymour and Blair 
in 1868. 

No man was better fitted to speak of Colonel Benton 
and in his oration at the unveiling, he said : 

"To-day you raise from the grave and give to the light 
the form and features of that model of an American Sen- 
ator whose patriotism entitled him to all the honors that 
the Roman Cato merited in the eyes of his government. 
There never lived a man with more instinctive patriotism 
than Benton. He was a man of strong, sometimes of un- 
ruly, passions, but his paramount passion was love of coun- 
try. Let me open my reminiscences of this strong man of 
intellect and impulse with a proof of his title to this proud 
position. I will first touch upon an important transaction 
with which his public life commenced. 

"After glorious service in the war with Great Britain 
in which Benton acted as the aide of General Jackson, a 
bloody feud arose between them, growing out of a duel in 
which the brother of the former was wounded by the friend 
of Jackson whom he attended as a second. This resulted in 
hatred which time made inveterate. With men of such deter- 
mination, who had refused all explanation at first, who 
would have no arbitrators but their weapons, no approach 
to reconcilation seemed possible. The thought, even, was 
not welcome to either until a conjecture arose which threat- 
ened the safety of the country. Both then perceived that 
their joint efforts were essential to the good of the coun- 
try, and without a w r ord spoken, without the slightest inti- 
mation from either that friendly relations would be wel- 
comed, the Senator began his labors in the service of the 
President and went to him to know how his co-operation 
could be made most effective in defense of the Union. Not 
a word about by-gones passed between them. The 1 memory 
of the quarrel was blotted out by the danger which men- 
aced the country. The old intimacy was revived in their 
devotion to the public cause. Cordial, unfettered, mutual 
attachment sprung up, and not a cloud remained of the 
black storm where rage was once welcomed as promising 
to end all differences in a common destruction. Patriotism, 
the ruling passion in both bosoms, exorcized from both every 
particle of anger, pride and the cherished antagonism of 
years. * * * 

"I trust I may not be thought to tread on ground too 

338 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

holy in alluding to the gentle care, the touching solicitude 
with which he guarded the last feeble pulse of life in her 
who was the pride and glory of his young ambition, the 
sweet ornament of his mature fame, the best loved of his 
ripened age. These are the complete qualities which enable 
us to know him as he was : 

"Lofty and sour to those who loved him not, 
But to those men who sought him, sweet as summer." 


No man in public life is more qualified to speak of Thom- 
as H. Benton than the Honorable Champ Clark of Missouri, 
the present Speaker of the House of Representatives in 
Congress; and no other opinion of Colonel Benton could 
receive a wider or more unqualified acceptance. Speak- 
er Clark was born in 1850 in Kentucky, and Benton died 
in 1858 and was buried in Missouri. The Speaker moved 
in 1875 to Missouri and developed in that State among the 
memories and traditions of Benton, and among a people 
who were supremely proud of their great Senator. In a 
thoughtful and well considered sketch of Colonel Benton's 
life, Speaker Clark uses this language : 

"He was not so magnetic a leader as Clay, so great an 
orator as Webster, or so profound a logician as Calhoun; 
but in range and thoroughness of information he over- 
topped them all. A short time before Senator George Fris- 
bie Hoar's death, I happened to sit beside him in a street 
car. I said: 'Senator, which knew the more, Thomas Hart 
Benton or John Quincy Adams?' With a twinkle in his 
eye, he replied: 'Both! If left to them to decide!' After 
a moment's reflection he added: 'Perhaps that is not a 
fair statement. The subjects of their researches were so 
different that it is difficult if not altogether impossible to 
compare them. Thomas H. Benton knew more about our 
domestic affairs than any other man that ever lived, while 
John Quincy Adams knew more about our foreign affairs 
than any other man that ever lived.' Most assuredly a high 
tribute to both. It was not only the wide scope of his in- 
formation, but his thoroughness that renders his great book 
an accepted authority on every subject with which it deals. 
I have quoted it scores of times, in Congress and out, and 
I have heard others quote it more frequently, and I have 
never yet heard the accuracy of his statement of facts ques- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 339 

tioned. He wrote his book partly because it was impossi- 
ble for him to be idle, for a more industrious man never 
lived; partly to earn some much-needed money, for, not- 
withstanding innumerable opportunities to grow rich, he 
remained poor — proof positive of his integrity — but chief- 
ly to vindicate his own career and General Jackson's to pos- 
terity. A more honest, honorable, truthful, courageous, pa- 
triotic man never lived. These high qualities appear every- 
where in his book, as do also his stupendous egotism, his 
bitter animosities, and his intense love of friends. He was 
an omnivorous reader — a learned man; he possessed an 
iron constitution; was sober and economical of his time; 
he was an active participant in tremendous events and was 
not at all bashful about claiming the lion's share of the 
credit; but there is everywhere apparent in his narrative 
a desire to be entirely just to those of whom he speaks. 
He left out of his book many whom he disliked except 
where he was compelled to mention them in the roster of 
the Senate or in the roll-calls." 


Colonel Benton published his "Thirty Years' View" cov- 
ering the workings of the American government for the 
period that he represented the State of Missouri in the 
United States Senate — from 1820 to 1850 — and the book 
came from the press in 1854. There are two volumes com- 
prising about fifteen hundred pages, and it is a stand- 
ard authority upon the matters it covers. The book is long 
since out of print, and the number of copies of it in the 
United States is very limited. Therefore, his candid and 
mature opinion of Andrew Jackson is known to but few 
people at this time. Considering that he and General Jack- 
son had the savage encounter narrated above, the author 
believes that the present generation of Tennesseans and 
all others who are interestcl in Andrew Jackson, will ap- 
preciate the reproduction of an extended quotation from 
Colonel Benton's one hundred and sixty-fifth chapter, where 
he sums up his opinion of Jackson; and that Tennesseans 
will coincide with the opinion that this chapter — the con- 
cluding chapter of the first volume — establishes his claim 
to greatness more thoroughly than anything the great Mis- 
souri stateman ever did in all of his long and eventful 
life connected with public affairs. 

340 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Benton repeatedly said in the course of his life that 
it was he, and not his brother Jesse, who shot General 
Jackson, but that unhappy combat never diminished his 
loyalty to Jackson. 

What a great picture it would make — one worthy to be 
hung in the Senate Chamber at Washington where they 
both served — a picture of Jackson on his death-bed, when 
he called Major Lewis to his bedside, pulled his head down 
so that he could whisper in his ear, and said, "Tell Colonel 
Benton that I am grateful even to my dying day!" And 
he had cause for gratitude. And Benton had cause for grat- 
itude to Jackson. The two in co-operation were the great- 
est two that ever acted together in the civil department 
of the United States government, and with Van Buren in 
Jackson's cabinet, what a combination it was. It was Ben- 
ton who gave notice long beforehand that the day would 
come when the United States Senate would expunge from 
its Journal the resolution of censure on Jackson, and it 
was Benton who made the motion which carried, that the 
words of censure be expunged. 

Therefore, what Benton's opinion of Jackson was, pub- 
lished nine years after Old Hickory's death, can be ac- 
cepted as an absolutely reliable portrait — as reliable as 
ever given by any writer, contemporary or later. We quote : 

"The first time that I saw General Jackson was at 
Nashville, Tennessee, in 1799 — he on the bench, a judge 
of the then Superior Court, and I a youth of seventeen, 
back in the crowd. He was then a remarkable man, and had 
his ascendant over all who approached him, not the effect 
of his high judicial station, nor of the senatorial rank which 
he had held and resigned; nor of military exploits, for 
he had not then been to war; but the effect of personal 
qualities ; cordial and graceful manners, hospitable tem- 
per, elevation of mind, undaunted spirit, generosity, and 
perfect integrity. In charging the jury in the impending 
case, he committed a slight solecism in language which 
grated on my ear, and lodged on my memory, without dero- 
gating in the least from the respect which he inspired ; and 
without awakening the slightest suspicion that I was ever 
to be engaged in smoothing his diction." 

"His temper was placable as well as irascible and his 
reconciliations were cordial and sincere. Of that, my own 

. Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 341 

case was a signal instance. After a deadly feud, I became 
his confidential adviser; was offered the highest marks of 
his favor and received from his dying bed a message of 
friendship, dictated when life was departing, and when 
he would have to pause for breath. There was a deep-seated 
vein of piety in him, unaffectedly showing itself in his 
reverence for divine worship, respect for the ministers of 
the gospel, their hospitable reception in his house, and con- 
stant encouragement of all the pious tendencies of Mrs. 
Jackson. And when they both afterwards became members 
of a church, it was the natural and regular result of their 
early and cherished feelings. He was gentle in his house, 
and alive to the tenderest emotions ; and of this, I can give 
an instance, greatly in contrast with his supposed char- 
acter, and worth more than a long discourse in showing 
what that character really was. I arrived in his house one 
wet chilly evening, in February, and came upon him in the 
twilight, sitting alone before the fire, a lamb and a child 
between his knees. He started a little, called a servant 
to remove the two innocents to another room, and explained 
to me how it was. The child had cried because the lamb 
was out in the cold, and begged him to bring it in — which 
he had done to please the child, his adopted son, then not 
two years old. The ferocious man does not do that! and 
though Jackson had his passions and his violence, they were 
for men and enemies — those who stood up against him — 
and not for women and children, or the weak and helpless : 
for all whom his feelings were those of protection and sup- 
port. His hospitality was active as well as cordial, embrac- 
ing the worthy in every walk of life, and seeking out de- 
serving objects to receive it, no matter how obscure. Of 
this I learned a characteristic instance in relation to the 
son of the famous Daniel Boone. The young man had come 
to Nashville on his father's business, to be detained some 
weeks, and had his lodgings at a small tavern, towards the 
lower part of town. General Jackson heard of it; sought 
him out ; found him ; took him home to remain as long as 
his business detained him in the country, saying, 'Your 
father's dog should not stay in a tavern, where I have a 
house.' This was heart! and I had it from the young man 
himself, long after, when he was a State Senator of the 
General Assembly of Missouri, and, as such, nominated me 
for the United States Senate, at my first election, in 1820 ; 
an act of hereditary friendship, as our fathers had been 
early friends." 


"He had a load to carry all of his life, resulting from a 
temper which refused compromises and bargaining, and 

342 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

went for a clean victory or a clean defeat, in every case. 
Hence, every step he took was a contest; and, it may be 
added, every contest was a victory. . I have already said that 
he was elected a Major General in Tennessee — an election 
on which so much afterwards depended — by one vote. His 
appointment in the United States regular army was a con- 
quest from the administration, which had twice refused to 
appoint him a Brigadier, and once disbanded him as a volun- 
teer general, and only yielded to his militia victories. His 
election as President was a victory over politicians — as was 
every leading event of his administration. 

"I have said that his appointment in the regular army 
was a victory over the administration, and it belongs to the 
inside view of history, and to the illustration of government 
mistakes, and the elucidation of individual merit surmount- 
ing obstacles, to tell how it was. Twice passed by to give 
preference to two others in the West (General Harrison 
and General Winchester), once disbanded, and omitted in 
all the lists of military nominations, how did he get at 
last to be appointed Major General? It was thus. Con- 
gress had passed an act authorizing the President to accept 
corps of volunteers. I proposed to General Jackson to raise 
a corps under that act, and hold it ready for service. He 
did so; and with this corps and some militia, he defeated 
the Creek Indians, and gained the reputation which forced 
his appointment in the regular army. I drew up the ad- 
dress which he made to his division at the time, and when 
I carried it to him in the evening, I found the child and 
the lamb between his knees. He had not thought of this 
resource, but caught at it instantly, adopted the address, 
with two slight alterations, and published it to his division. 
I raised a regiment myself, and made the speeches at the 
general musters, which helped to raise two others, assisted 
by a small band of friends — all feeling confident that if we 
could conquer the difficulty — master the first step — and get 
him upon the theater of action, he would do the rest himself. 
This is the way he got into the regular army, not only un- 
selected by the wisdom -of government, but rejected by it — 
a stone rejected by the master builders — and worked in by 
an unseen hand, to become the cornerstone of the temple. 
The aged men of Tennessee will remember all of this, and 
it is time that history should learn it. But to return to the 
private life and personal characteristics of this extraordi- 
nary man. 

"There was an innate, unvarying, self-acting delicacy 
in his intercourse with the female sex, including all woman- 
kind; and on that point my personal observation (and my 
opportunities for observation were both large and various) , 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 343 

enables me to join in the declaration of the -belief expressed 
by his earliest friend and most intimate associate, the late 
Judge Overton, of Tennessee. The Roman general won an 
immortality of honor by one act of continence ; what praise 
is due to Jackson, whose whole life was continent? I re- 
peat, if he had been born in the time of Cromwell, he would 
have been a Puritan. Nothing could exceed his kindness 
and affection to Mrs. Jackson, always increasing in propor- 
tion as his elevation, and culminating fortunes, drew T cruel 
attacks upon her. I knew her well, and that a more ex- 
emplary woman in all the relations of life, wife, friend, 
neighbor, relative, mistress of slaves — never lived, and never 
presented a more quiet, cheerful and admirable management 
of her household. She had not education, but she had a 
heart, and a good one ; and that was always leading her 
to do kind things in the kindest manner. She had the Gen- 
eral's owri warm heart, frank manners and hospitable tem- 
per; and no two persons could have been better suited to 
each other, lived more happily together, or made a house 
more attractive to visitors. She had the faculty — a rare 
one — of retaining names and titles in a throng of visitors, 
addressing each one appropriately, and dispensing hospital- 
ity to all with a cordiality which enhanced its value. No 
bashful youth, or plain old man, whose modesty sat them 
down at the lower end of the table, could escape her cordial 
attention, any more than the titled gentlemen on her right 
and left. Young persons were her delight, and she always 
had her house filled with them — clever young women and 
clever young men — all calling her affectionately 'Aunt 
Rachel.' I was young then, and was one of that number. 
I owe it to cherished recollections, and to cherished con- 
victions — in this last notice of the Hermitage — to bear this 
faithful testimony to the memory of its long mistress — the 
loved and honored wife of a great man. Her greatest eulogy 
is in the affection which she bore her living, and in the 
sorrow with which she mourned her dead. She died at the 
moment of the General's first election to the Presidency; 
and everyone that had a just petition to present, or chari- 
table request to make, lost in her death, the surest channel 
to the ear and to the heart of the President. His regard 
for her survived, and lived in the persons of her nearest 
relatives. A nephew of hers was his adopted son and heir, 
taking his own name, and now the respectable master of 
the Hermitage. Another nephew, Andrew Jackson Donel- 
son, Esq., was his private secretary when President. The 
Presidential mansion was presided over during his term by 
her niece, the most amiable Mrs. Donelson ; and all his con- 
duct bespoke affectionate and lasting remembrance of one 
he held so dear." 

344 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 



Andrew Jackson owes to the Indian chief Tecumseh the 
opportunity to convince the people of Tennessee and the 
federal administration at Washington, that he was pos- 
sessed of military ability sufficient to justify the claim of 
his friends that he had in him the elements of a great 
commander, and that he would so develop if put in command 
of troops and placed in front of an enemy. Tecumseh was 
one of those Indian chiefs who approached being a great 
man. Among the thousands of Indians in America, there 
were only a very few who stood out clearly above the gen- 
eral average of Redmen. Tecumseh was a born leader and 
never looked upon the white man with a friendly eye; he 
felt and claimed that his race had been robbed. By birth 
he was a Shawnee, his physical proportions were fine, and 
he was an orator who could sway his hearers ; he knew how 
to depict the wrongs of the Redmen.' He conceived the idea 
of uniting all the Indian tribes and ejecting the white man 
from the land. This was his own conception, and had no 
connection with the war of 1812. He went up and down 
the land among the tribes preaching war on the whites, in- 
jected the element of religion into his campaign, and worked 
the Indians up to a religious frenzy; and the result of his 
machinations was one of the most horrible massacres in 
all history, that at Fort Mims, in southern Alabama, on 
August 30, 1813. In the fort were five hundred and fifty- 
three men, women and children, of whom four hundred 
met then and there a bloody, horrible death. The drum 
sounded within the fort for dinner on that 30th of August, 
1813, and, suspecting no danger, the gates were opened, 
and at the sound of the drum the Indians rushed within 
the enclosure. It was a one-sided fight, a bloody Indian 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 345 

massacre. At sundown corpses, mangled and scalped, were 
everywhere within the walls of the fort. The details of 
this massacre shocked and astounded everyone who heard 
it, and brought to the battlefield Andrew Jackson, who was 
just out of his combat with the Bentons, and was nursing 
his wound caused by Colonel Benton's pistol bullet. Fort 
Mims led Jackson, by way of New Orleans, to the Presi- 
dency of the United States. 

On September 18, 1813, a public meeting was held in 
Nashville to consider this awful event. The Legislature of 
the State passed an act on September 24th with the follow- 
ing caption: "An act to repel the invasion of the State 
of Tennessee by the Creek Indians and to afford relief to the 
citizens of the Mississippi territory, and other purposes." 
By this act the Governor was authorized to organize and 
march immediately any number of men not exceeding 3,500 
to any place in the Creek Nation of Indians; to supply the 
troops with provisions and ammunition and arms at the 
expense of Tennessee until the general government should 
make provision for them ; to borrow money from any source 
in an amount not exceeding three hundred thousand dollars, 
and the revenue of the state was pledged to meet any sum 
that the governor might borrow. 

Section 3 provided that in the event the general gov- 
ernment refused to pay the troops called out under the 
act for their services, as other similar troops were paid by 
the government, then said troops should be paid by the 
State of Tennessee in the same manner the United States 
pays similar troops. 

General Jackson's wound was beginning to heal and on 
the 25th of September he called his soldiers to meet on the 
4th of October at Fayetteville, in Lincoln County, and on 
the 26th he sent Colonel John Coffee with 500 cavalrymen 
to the frontier of Alabama for its protection, and on the 
4th of October Colonel Coffee reached Huntsville. 

The 4th of October, the day set apart for the soldiers 
to rendezvous at Fayetteville, was one month from the time 
the General had been shot by Colonel Benton. Fayetteville, 
the place of rendezvous, was about eighty miles from Nash- 
ville, and on the 4th of October the General found that his 

346 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

physical condition would not permit him to be present, so 
he forwarded an address which was read to the soldiers. 


"We are about to furnish these savages a lesson of ad- 
monition; we are about to teach them that our long for- 
bearance has not proceeded from an insensibility to wrongs, 
or an inability to redress them. They stand in need of 
such warning. In proportion as we have borne with their 
insults, and submitted to their outrages, they have multi- 
plied in number, and increased in atrocity. But the measure 
of their offenses is at length filled. The blood of our women 
and children, recently spilt at Fort Mims, calls for our 
vengeance; it must not call in vain. Our borders must no 
longer be disturbed by the warwhoop of these savages, and 
the cries of their suffering victims. The torch that has 
been lighted up must be made to blaze in the heart of their 
own country. It is time they should be made to feel the 
weight of a power, which, because it was merciful, they 
believed to be impotent. But how shall a war so long for- 
borne, and so loudly called for by retributive justice, be 
waged? Shall we imitate the example of our enemies, in 
the disorder of their movements and the savageness of their 
dispositions? Is it worthy the character of American sol- 
diers, who take up arms to redress the wrongs of an in- 
jured country, to assume no better models than those fur- 
nished them by barbarians? No, fellow-soldiers; great as 
are the grievances that have called us from our homes, we 
must not permit disorderly passions to tarnish the reputa- 
tion we shall carry along with us. We must and will be 
victorious; but we must conquer as men who owe nothing 
to chance, and who, in the midst of victory, can still be 
mindful of what is due to humanity! 

"We will commence the campaign bj» an inviolable at- 
tention to discipline and subordination. Without a strict 
observance of these, victory must ever be uncertain, and 
ought hardly to be exulted in, even when gained. To what 
but the entire disregard of order and subordination, are 
we to ascribe the disasters which have attended our arms 
in the North during the present war? How glorious will 
it be to remove the blots which have tarnished the fair char- 
acter bequeathed us by the fathers of our Revolution ! The 
bosom of your general is full of hope. He knows the ardor 
which animates you, and already exults in the triumph 
which your strict observance of discipline and good order 
will render certain." 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 347 

The General himself reached Fayetteville on the 7th of 
October. On October 11th word came from Coffee that 
the Indians were on the move. At three o'clock Jackson 
had started to Huntsville, and at eight o'clock had arrived 
there. He established a fort which he called Fort Deposit 
on Thompson's Creek. 

Now began experiences that would have shattered the 
resolution of any other man. It was a fight to feed the 
army, and a losing fight, for a long time. The question of 
supplies became the one question of the hour. Andrew Jack- 
son's iron soul never exhibited itself more powerfully than 
in this Indian warfare down to, and including, the battle 
of the Horseshoe. He wrote letters everywhere, to every- 
body whom he thought could secure or expedite provisions 
to his relief. He told his correspondents that he dreaded 
famine more than he did the Creek Indians. 

He left Fort Deposit on October 25, and in a few days 
came to the Coosa River, within a few miles of the town 
of Talluschatches, an Indian town where an Indian force 
was assembled. On November 2 General Coffee was directed 
to destroy this town, which he did, and on November 3d, 
Coffee reported to Jackson that 186 Indians were killed 
and 84 prisoners of women and children were taken. He 
lost of his horsemen five killed and forty-one wounded. The 
cavalry were under Col. Alcorn, the mounted riflemen under 
Col. Cannon, and the advance parties under Capt. Hammond 
and Lieut. Patterson. General Jackson made a report to 
Governor Blount on November 4. 


"We have retaliated for the destruction of Fort Mims. 
On the 2d I detached General Coffee, with a part of his 
brigade of cavalry and mounted riflemen, to destroy Tal- 
lushatches, where a considerable force of the hostile Creeks 
was concentrated. The General executed this in style. An 
hundred and eight*six of the enemy were found dead on 
the field, and about eighty taken prisoners, forty of whom 
have been brought here. In the number left there is a suffi- 
ciency but slightly wounded to take care of those who are 
badly. I have to regret that five of my brave fellows have 
been killed, and about thirty wounded; some badly, but none 
I hope mortally. Both officers and men behaved with the 

348 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

utmost bravery and deliberation. Captains Smith, Bradley 
and Winston are wounded, all slightly. No officer is killed. 
So soon as General Coffee makes his report I shall enclose 
it. If we had a sufficient supply of provisions we should in 
a very short time accomplish the object of our expedition." 

The punishment inflicted by Coffee on the Creeks in 
this battle was severe, but more was to follow at the Battle 
of Talladega where a number of friendly Indians were be- 
leaguered in a fort upon the site of which the present town 
of Talladega, Alabama, with a present population of about 
6,000, is located. Between the battle of Talluschatches and 
November 8, General Jackson and his men had been busy 
erecting a fort which he called Fort Strother. On Novem- 
ber 8, he started on his way to the battle of Talladega, and 
on the 9th the battle was fought and the friendly Creeks 
who were shut up in the fort were relieved. Jackson, in his 
report, said that two hundred and ninety Indians were 
left dead on the field and that many more left traces of 
blood as they fled. Jackson's army lost fifteen men killed, 
eighty-five wounded, two of whom subsequently died. The 
advance party was under Col. William Carroll and consisted 
of the companies of Captains Dederick, Caperton and Bled- 
soe. The reserve was under Lieut.-Colonel Dyer, and con- 
sisted of the commands of Captains Smith, Morton, Axune, 
Edwards, and Hammond. 

It was on this expedition that General John Cocke was 
ordered under arrest by General Jackson and tried by court- 
martial which unconditionally acquitted him of all charges 
made against him by Jackson. This was a very unhappy 
episode which was probably brought about by designing 
enemies poisoning Jackson's mincl against Cocke. The 
charges were that Cocke had failed to bring provisions for 
the support of Jackson's army, and had not co-operated with 
Jackson as he should have done. 

After this hunger and famine became vastly more dan- 
gerous to Jackson's army than the red man, and mutiny 
among the soldiers raised its head. We cannot go into all 
the details of this gloomy period, but it may be summarized 
by the statement that it brought out the iron that was in 
Jackson's constitution, and a will that did not know how 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 349 

to yield. Finally, General Jackson was left in the wilder- 
ness with only one hundred and nine men, and it looked 
like the expedition must be given up, notwithstanding what 
had been so successfully accomplished. The Indians and 
British were in a combination, and it was overwhelmingly 
necessary that the Indians as an ally of the British should 
be crushed; but the situation confronting Jackson looked 
very much like it was not going to be done. He waited to 
see what help he was going to get from Governor Blount to 
whom he had appealed for support, and finally received the 
Governor's answer, which, in effect, advised him that the 
campaign had failed and for him to give up the struggle and 
return home. 


It was one of the thrilling moments of this period of 
mutiny when General Jackson announced in the presence of 
his troops, "If only two men will stay with me, I will stay 
here and die in the wilderness," that Captain John Gordon, 
Gordon of the Spies, one of the most gallant men of the 
army, promptly responded, "General, I will stay with you 
and die in the wilderness," and then turned among the men 
looking for volunteers also to remain, and one hundred and 
nine pledged themselves to stand by Jackson. 

Colonel A. S. Colyar on pages 134, 157, 208, and 299 of 
the first volume of his life of Jackson, gives Captain Thomas 
Kennedy Gordon by mistake for Captain John Gordon, but 
upon his attention being called to the error by Mrs. W. M. 
Woolwine of Nashville, promptly acknowledged the error, 
and promised to correct it if a second edition of his Life of 
Jackson should be published. He wrote Mrs. Woolwine this 
letter : 

"Nashville, Tennessee, February 24, 1906. 

"My Dear Mrs. Woolwine : . I have your letter in refer- 
ence to the mistake I made in writing 'The Life and Times of 
Andrew Jackson,' in which I gave Captain Thomas Kennedy 
Gordon credit as Captain of the Spies in the Indian wars of 
1812 and 1815. 

"I wish to say it was a mistake. When I prepared the 
first draft of my book, I gave the credit to Captain John 
Gordon, and designated him as Captain of the Spies. An 

350 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

esteemed friend wrote me that it was not Captain John Gor- 
don who was known as the Captain of the Spies, but Captain 
Thomas Kennedy Gordon. Coming, as this did, from a most 
reputable source, I accepted it, and in the second draft (re- 
vision) of the work, I changed it. 

"This I greatly regret, as I now know from a full investi- 
gation that the soldier known as the 'Captain of the Spies' 
was Captain John Gordon, and I authorize the Lippincott 
Company to make the correction in future publications. 

"Verv truly yours, 

"A. S. COLYAR." 

"If I publish a second edition, I will correct it. Please 
pardon the use of a pencil ; while it is not respected as the 
pen is, it is more accommodating to old age." 

Gordon's record in the Indian Wars and in connection 
with General Jackson, is one of the finest of that period, and 
it is not a matter of wonder that his descendants glory in the 
gallantry, courage and knightly qualities of their ancestor, 
and want him to be given that which historically is his due. 
He was a descendant of the "Black Gordon" clan of Scotch 
Highlanders, born in Virginia July 15, 1763, and was among 
the early settlers at Nashville, and took part in defense of 
the settlement against the Indians. He was the first post- 
master of Nashville and served from April 1, 1796, to Octo- 
ber 1, 1797. 


"Nashville, December 22, 1813. 
"Dear Sir: 

"I am incapable of willingly saying or doing anything 
to injure the service, or that which would injuriously affect 
the reptuation of deserving men, or the standing of an able 
and patriotic hero and general ; but, as a friend to my Gov- 
ernment, most ardently desirous that every step taken in 
this quarter may promote the good of the service, and the 
standing of those who deserve well of their country, I do 
not see what important good can grow out of your continu- 
ing at an advanced post, in the enemy's country, with a hand- 
ful of brave men. Would it not, under all circumstances, be 
most likely to be attended with good consequences for you 
to _ return to the frontier of Tennessee, and, with your patri- 
otic force, defend our frontier, where provision can be read- 
ily afforded on better terms to Government, bringing with 
you your baggage and supplies ; and there, on the frontier, 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 35 1 

await the order of the Government, or until I can be author- 
ized to reinforce you, or to call a new force? At this time, 
I really do not feel authorized to order a draft, or I would, 
with the greatest of all pleasure I could feel, do it. Were I to 
attempt it in an unauthorized way, it would injure, as I 
think, the public service, which I would rather die than do. I 
■ could not positively assure the men that they would be paid. 

"I send you a copy of the President's message, and am 
gratified to see the handsome terms he uses in speaking of 
you and of General Coffee's battles. He seems to mean 
something about Pensacola, and to effect his object best, a 
new force should certainly be organized. Many who are 
now, and have been, on the campaign, would go again 
on that business, if they are pleased with the President's 
decision respecting their term of service, under the late or- 
ders. I shall, from what I have said about the propriety 
of your return to the Tennessee frontier, feel bound to send 
a copy of this to the War Department, for the information 
of Government, and by way of apology for offering such an 
opinion to an officer in the service of the United States. 

"I am, with highest respect and most sincere regard, 

"Your friend, 

"Major General Andrew Jackson, United States Service, 

Creen Nation." 

To this letter General Jackson wrote a reply which in 
forcibly presenting a situation that was dark and gloomy, 
and that called for almost superhuman courage and will 
power to surmount, is one of the greatest documents in the 
history of any State. All Tennesseans should read it, and 
learn not only the iron character of its author, but his intel- 
lectual power. History may be challenged to find a greater 
character than Jackson presented at this dark period of the 
Creek war. 


"Had your wish that I should discharge a part of my 
force, and retire with the residue into the settlements, as- 
sumed the form of a positive order, it might have furnished 
me some apology for pursuing such a course, but by no 
means a full justification. As you would have no power to 
give such an order, I could not be inculpable to obeying, with 
my eyes open to the fatal consequences that would attend it. 
But a bare recommendation, founded, as I am satisfied it 
must be, on the artful suggestions of those fireside patriots, 

352 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

who seek in a failure of the exposition an excuse for their 
own supineness, and upon the misrepresentations of the dis- 
contented from the army, who wish it to be believed that the 
difficulties which overcame their patriotism are wholly in- 
surmountable, would afford me but a feeble shield against 
the reproaches of my country or my conscience. Believe 
me, my respected friend, the remarks I make proceed from , 
the purest personal regard. If you would preserve your 
reputation, or that of the State over which you preside, you 
must take a straightforward, determined course, regardless 
of the applause or censure of the populace, and of the fore- 
bodings of that dastardly and designing crew who, at a time 
like this, may be expected to clamor continually in your ears. 
The very wretches who now beset you with evil counsel will 
be the first, should the measures which they recommend 
eventuate in disaster, to call down imprecations on your head 
and load you with reproaches. Your country is in danger; 
apply its resources to its defense. Can any course be more 
plain ? Do you, my friend, at such a moment as the present, 
sit with your arms folded and your heart at ease, waiting a 
solution of your doubts and definitions of your powers? Do 
you wait for special instructions from the Secretary of War, 
which it is impssible for you to receive in time for the dan- 
ger that threatens ? How did the venerable Shelby act un- 
der similar circumstances, or, rather, under circumstances 
by no means so critical? Did he wait for orders to do what 
every man of sense knew — what every patriot felt to be 
right? He did not; and yet how highly and justly did the 
Government extol his manly and energetic conduct! And 
how dear has his name become to every friend of his coun- 

"You say that an order to bring the necessary quota of 
men into the field has been given, and that, of course, your 
power ceases ; and, although you are made sensible that the 
order has been wholly neglected, you can take no measure to 
remedy the omission. Widely different, indeed, is my opin- 
ion. I consider it your imperious duty when the men, called 
for by your authority, founded upon that of the Government, 
are known not to be in the field, to see that they be brought 
there ; and to take immediate measures with the officer who, 
charged with the execution of your order, omits or neglects 
to do it. As the executive of the State, it is your duty to see 
that the full quota of troops be constantly kept in the field 
for the time they have been required. You are responsible 
to the Government, your officer to you. Of what avail is it 
to give an order if it be never executed, and may be diso- 
beyed with impunity? Is it by empty mandates that we can 
hope to conquer our enemies, and save our defenseless fron- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee; History 353 

tiers from butchery and devastation? Believe me, my 
valued friend, there are times when it is highly criminal to 
shrink from responsibility, or scruple about the exercise of 
our powers. There are times when we must disregard punc- 
tilious etiquette, and think only of serving our country. 
The enemy we have been sent to subdue may be said, if we 
stop at this, to be only exasperated. The commander in 
chief, General Pinckney, who supposes me by this time pre- 
pared for renewed operations, has ordered me to advance 
and form a junction with the Georgia army; and upon the 
expectation that I will do so are all his arrangements formed 
for the prosecution of the campaign. Will it do to defeat his 
plans, and jeopardize the safety of the Georgia army? The 
general Government, too, believe, and have now not less than 
five thousand men in the heart of the enemy's country ; and 
on this opinion are all their calculations bottomed ; and must 
they all be frustrated, and I become the instrument by which 
it is done? God forbid! 

"You advise me to discharge or dismiss from service, 
until the will of the President can be known, such portion of 
the militia as have rendered three months' service. This 
advice astonishes me even more than the former. I have 
no such discretionary power ; and if I had, it would be im- 
politic and ruinous to exercise it. I believed the militia who 
were not specially received for a shorter period were en- 
gaged for six months, unless the objects of the expedition 
should be sooner attained ; and in this opinion I was greatly 
strengthened by your letter of the 15th, in which you say 
when answering my inquiry upon this subject, 'the militia 
are detached for six months' service;' nor did I know or 
suppose you had a different opinion until the arrival of your 
last letter. This opinion must, I suppose, agreeably to your 
request, be made known to General Roberts' brigade, and 
then the consequences are not difficult to be foreseen. Every 
man belonging to it will abandon me on the fourth of next 
month ; nor shall I have the means of preventing it but by 
the application of force, which under such circumstances, I 
shall not be at liberty to use. I have labored hard to recon- 
cile these men to a continuance in service until they could 
be honorably discharged, and had hoped I had, in a great 
measure, succeeded ; but your opinion, operating with their 
own prejudices, will give a sanction to their conduct, and 
render useless any further attempts. They will go; but I 
can neither discharge or dismiss them. Shall I be told 
that, as they will go, it may as well be peaceably permitted? 
Can that be any good reason why I should do an unauthor- 
ized act? Is it a good reason why I should violate the order 
of my superior officer, and evince a willingness to defeat the 

354 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

purposes of my government? And wherein does the 'sound 
policy' of the measures that have been recommended con- 
sist? Or in what way are they 'likely to promote the public 
goodZ' Is it sound policy to abandon a conquest thus far 
made, and deliver up to havoc, or add to the number of our 
enemies, those friendly Creeks and Cherokees, who, relying 
on our protection, have espoused our cause and aided us with 
their arms? Is it good policy to turn loose upon our defense- 
less frontiers five thousand exasperated savages, to reek 
their hands once more in the blood of our citizens? What! 
retrograde under such circumstances ! I will perish first. 
No, I will do my duty; I will hold the posts I have estab- 
lished, until ordered to abandon them by the commanding 
general, or die in the struggle ; long since have I determined 
not to seek the preservation of life at the sacrifice of reputa- 

"But our frontiers, it seems, are to be defended, and by 
whom? By the very force that is now recommended to be 
dismissed — for I am first told to retire into the settlements 
and protect the frontiers ; next to discharge my troops ; and 
then, that no measures can be taken for raising others. 
No, my friend; if troops be given me, it is not by loitering 
on the frontiers that I seek to give protection ; they are to 
be defended, if defended at all, in a very different manner — 
by carrying the war into the heart of the enemy's country. 
All other hopes of defense are more visionary than dreams. 
What, then, is to be done? I'll tell you what. You have 
only to act with the energy and decision the crisis demands, 
and all will be well. Send me a force engaged for six 
months, and I will answer for the result; but withholding it, 
and all is lost — the reputation of the State, and yours, and 
mine along with it." 

If anything could arouse the Chief Executive of the State, 
this letter was capable of doing it, and it had that effect on 
the Governor, who became active and loyal and made this 
part of his career one of his very best. He set about raising 
twenty-five hundred men to rendezvous at Fayetteville on 
January 28, 1814, and the situation began to look better. 
On January 15, 1814, we find Jackson at Fort Strother with 
nine hundred recruits which had been brought to him as the 
result of his incessant appeals, letter writing and other in- 
fluences he had put in motion, to bring men to his support. 
Believing that these recruits would be less dissatisfied in 
action and motion than in sitting around camp, General Jack- 
son undertook what he called an "excursion" of twelve days, 

Colonel John Williams, Commander 39th Regulars, Battle of the Horse Shoe. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 355 

in which was fought the battle of Emuckfau on December 22, 
1813, in which Sandy Donelson, Coffee's aide and brother- 
in-law, was killed. Two days later the battle of Enotocho- 
pco was fought, on December 24, 1813. Coffee estimates the 
loss of the Indians at two hundred killed and seventy 
wounded, four of whom afterwards died. 

The battle of Emuckfau was fought by General Coffee's 
brigade consisting of the regiments of Colonels Sittler, Car- 
roll and Higgins, and Captain Ferrill's company of infantry, 
numbering 930 men, joined by 300 friendly Indians under 
Chief Jim Fife. 

At Enotochopco there w T ere engaged the regiments of 
Colonels Perkins, Carroll and Stump, supported by artillery 
under Lieutenant Robert Armstrong and Captain William 
Russell's company of Spies. 

On February 6, 1814, the welcome information was 
brought to General Jackson that the 39th regiment of the 
United States infantry, six hundred strong, had arrived at 
Fort Strother.j Colonel John Williams's regiment was 
brought to the help of General Jackson through the influence 
of Judge Hugh Lawson White, who heard of the precarious 
situation of Jackson in the wilderness. White was a broth- 
er-in-law of Colonel Williams, who was getting ready to take 
his regiment to New Orleans under orders from the Secre- 
tary of War; but he agreed to the wisdom of the course sug- 
gested by Judge White. In addition to Colonel Williams's 
force a troop of dragoons came from East Tennessee. 


Colonel John Williams, who so gallantly came to the help 
of Jackson by procuring a change of his instructions from 
the Secretary of War to take his regiment to New Orleans, 
was a great contributing factor in winning the Battle of the 
Horseshoe. He was born in Surry County, North Carolina, 
January 29, 1778; completed preparatory studies; Captain 
in the Sixth United States Infantry from April, 1799, to 
June, 1800; studied law in Salisbury, North Carolina, and 
was admitted to the bar in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1803, 
and there began practice; Captain of regular troops in the 
War of 1812 and Colonel of a regiment of East Tennessee 

356 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

mounted volunteers in the expedition against the Seminoles 
in Florida, 1812-1813; Colonel of the 39th United States In- 
fantry June 18, 1813, and subsequently served under Gen- 
eral Jackson in the expedition against the Creek Indians in 
Alabama; elected to the United States Senate as the suc- 
cessor of George W. Campbell resigned, to fill the unexpired 
term from October 10, 1815, to March 3, 1817 ; again elected 
to the United States Senate for the full term and served from 
March 3, 1817, to March 3, 1823; charge d'affaires to the 
Central American Federation December 29, 1825, to Decem- 
ber 1, 1826; elected to the State Senate of Tennessee; de- 
clined appointment as Justice of the Supreme Court of Ten- 
nessee, and died h&ar Knoxville, August 10, 1837. 

In 1825 before John Quincy Adams had been inaugurated 
President of the United States, he wanted to offer the posi- 
tion of Secretary of War to Colonel Williams, but was dis- 
suaded therefrom by Henry Clay who used the argument 
that the President-elect Adams needed strength in the State 
of New York and that the Secretary of War should come 
from that State. 

A singular coincidence happened when Major Gideon 
Hazen Williams, a great-grandson of Colonel John Wil- 
liams, married Marguerite Adams, a great-great-grand- 
daughter of John Quincy Adams, eighty-nine years after 
President-elect Adams wanted to appoint Colonel Williams 
Secretary of War. John Quincy Adams mentions the fact 
of his desire to appoint Colonel Williams in his diary. 

The 39th regiment commanded by Colonel Williams was 
organized under the Act of Congress of January 29, 1813, 
and on May 17, 1815, was consolidated under the Act of Con- 
gress of March 3, 1815, with the 1st, 17th, 19th, 24th and 
28th regiments of infantry, to form the 3rd regiment of in- 
fantry; and so the 39th regiment that took part in the 
Battle of the Horseshoe and became historical in Tennessee, 
was merged out of existence. The following is the roster of 
the officers of the 39th during its short life from January 29, 
1813, to May 17, 1815, namely: Colonel, John Williams, 18 
June, 1813, to 17 May, 1815; Lieutenant Colonel, Thomas H. 
Benton, 18 June to 17 May, 1815 ; Majors, L. P. Montgomery, 
29 July, 1813, to 27 March, 1814; William Peacock, 29 July, 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 357 

1813, to 17 May, 1817; Uriah Blue, 13 March, 1814, to 17 
May, 1815. 

Captains: George Hallam, 29 July, 1813, to May, 1814; 
Henry Henegar, 29 July, 1813, to 15 June, 1815 ; John Jones, 
29 July, 1913, to 1 May, 1824; John B. Long, 29 July, 1813, 
to 20 April, 1815; John Phelan, 29 July, 1813, to 15 June, 
1815; William Walker, 29 July, 1813, to 15 June, 1815; 
Thomas Stuart, 29 July, 1813, to 15 June, 1815; Benjamin 
Keynolds, 29 July, 1813, to 15 June, 1815 ; John Phagan, 29 
July, 1813, to 15 June, 1815 ; James Davis, 29 July, 1813, to 
15 June, 1815 ; A. H. Douglas, 29 July, 1813, to 1 September, 
1814; Samuel Wilson, 29 July, 1813, to 15 June, 1815; Ben- 
jamin Wright, 29 July, 1813, to 15 June, 1815, died 30 Janu- 
ary, 1860 ; Barnard M. Patterson, 29 July to 15 June, 1815 ; 
James Gray. 

First Lieutenants: Daniel Lauderdale, 29 July, 1813, 
to 11 January, 1814; James Sharp, 29 July, 1813, to 1 June, 
1814 ; Nathaniel Smith, 29 July, 1813, to 17 January, 1837 ; 
Robert M. Somerville, 29 July, 1813, killed 27 March, 1814, 
in the battle of the Horseshoe ; Joe L. Denton, 29 July, 1813, 
to 15 June, 1815 ; Wyly Martin, 9 August, 1813, to 21 July, 
1823 ; Jesse 0. Tate, 29 July, 1813, to 15 June, 1815 ; Joseph 
R. Henderson, 17 January, 1805, to 21 September, 1814; 
Davidson McMillan, 29 July, 1813, to 15 June, 1815; Guy 
Smith, 29 July, 1813, to 15 June, 1815 ; Ashley Stanfield, 29 
July, 1813, to 1 December, 1814 ; James Leath, 29 July, 1813, 
to 15 June, 1815; Benjamin Duncan, 29 July, 1813, to 15 
June, 1815; James McDonald. 

Second Lieutenants : Michael C. Molton, 29 July, 1813, 
killed 27 March, 1814, in the battle of the Horseshoe; 
Samuel Houston, 24 March, 1813, to March 1, 1818, the first 
Governor of Texas, United States Senator, and died 25 July, 
1863; M. W. McClellan, 29 July, 1813, to 15 June, 1815; 
Thomas C. Hindman, 29 July, 1813, to 30 June, 1816; Jacob 
K. Snap, 29 July, 1813, to 17 October, 1814; Norfleet Drotch, 
25 March, 1814, to 14 March, 1815 ; Andrew Greer, 29 July, 
1813, to 15 June^ 1815; Isaac Pangle, 29 July, 1813, to 26 No- 
vember, 1814; Simpson Payne, 29 July, 1813, to 15 June, 
1815; Randolph Quarles, 29 July, 1813, to 15 June, 1815; 

358 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

M. F. DeGraffenreid, 26 March, 1814, to 31 October, 1817; 
Cornelius N. Lewis, 2 March, 1814, to 18 February, 1815. 

Third Lieutenants: Ellis Thomas, 29 July, 1813, to 8 
March, 1814; Joseph S. Jackson, 29 July, 1813, to 31 Decem- 
ber, 1813; Robert B. Harney, 21 June, 1814, to 15 June, 
1815; Andrew Cowan, 25 July, 1814, to 15 June, 1815; 
George W. Somerville, 25 April, 1814, to 24 January, 1815 ; 
Edward Jones, 21 June, 1814, to 15 June, 1815; Anthony 
Dearing, 21 June, 1814, to 15 June, 1815; Anthony Palmer, 
1 June, 1814, to 15 June, 1815; William A. Covington, 21 
June, 1814, to 15 June, 1815; Dicks Alexander, 17 March, 
1814, to 15 June, 1815; Joseph Dennison, 5 November, 1813, 
to 26 November, 1814, died 14 January, 1815; J. M. Arm- 

Ensigns: John McHenry, 29 July, 1813, died March, 
1814; Joel Parrish; Thomas Easten; J. H. Anderson. 

Surgeon's Mate : John H. Read, 29 July, 1813, to 1 Octo- 
ber, 1814. 

In a letter written from Fort Strother, February 8, 1814, 
to Major John Reid, General Jackson said : 

"Colonel Williams of the 39th regulars has received or- 
ders from General Flournoy to repair with his command to 
New Orleans. I have detained him for orders from General 
Pinckney ; if he is taken from me my main prop is gone, and 
I will have to risk my character and the public service with 
raw, inexperienced troops, commanded, perhaps, by raw, 
inexperienced officers." 

In another letter from Fort Strother on February 21, 
1814, to Major William B. Lewis, General Jackson said: 

"I am truly happy in having the Colonel (Williams) with 
me. His regiment will give strength to my arm and quell 

Illustrating the utter uncertainty of life, the whirligig of 
human affairs, it transpired that in 1823 when Colonel John 
Williams' term expired as United States Senator, it was 
necessary for the opposition to find somebody with whom to 
defeat him, and as a last resort, General Jackson himself 
was taken up as a candidate for that purpose, and succeeded 
in an election held by the Legislature of Tennessee then sit- 
ting at Murfreesboro. It is unnecessary here to go into the 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 359 

details of the differences between General Jackson and 
Colonel Williams after the Battle of the Horseshoe. It is 
sufficient to show the origin of these differences, to say that 
Colonel Williams thought that after he had procured a 
change in the orders of the Secretary of War and gone such 
a distance through the wilderness to the help of General 
Jackson, who was then in the midst of his troubles with 
mutinous troops in Alabama, and had led the assault over 
the breastworks with the 39th regiment in the Battle of the 
Horseshoe, that the services of his regiment were not ade- 
quately recognized by the General in his report of the battle 
to Willie Blount, Governor of Tennessee. 

General Jackson's entry into the race for United States 
Senator before the Legislature was brought about by Judge 
John Overton, who was attending the session of the Legisla- 
ture at Murfreesboro attempting to defeat Colonel Williams 
for re-election to the Senate. The strength of a number of 
candidates was tested, and it was found that none of them 
could defeat Williams. Judge Overton concluded that it 
could only be done by General Jackson himself. He took a 
night ride from Murfreesboro to the Hermitage and arrived 
when the General was at breakfast, and laid the situation be- 
fore him. He argued that it would never do for Colonel 
Williams to be elected to the United States Senate as he was 
pledged to William H. Crawford of Georgia for the Presi- 
idency, and as General Jackson at that time was being put 
forward by his friends also for the Presidency. The Judge 
pressed his argument that it would be fatal to Jackson's 
candidacy for President for Tennessee to send a Crawford 
man to the Senate. General Jackson yielded and consented 
to the use of his name, and Judge Overton returned at once 
to Murfreesboro, and on a ballot being taken General Jack- 
son was elected by seven votes. 

After his defeat for the Senate in 1823 Colonel Williams 
consented in 1825, upon the urgent solicitation of his friends, 
to be a receptive candidate for the State Senate from Knox 
and Anderson counties. His opponents were active, while 
Williams maintained his position that he was merely a recep- 
tive candidate and would not actively attempt to secure his 

360 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

election, and in the race he was defeated by Colonel Ander- 
son by a* few votes. 

In 1827 he became an active candidate for the State 
Senate and Colonel Anderson was again his opponent. The 
race produced much excitement and both his political friends 
and enemies were very active, and some bitterness became 
manifest. Judge Hugh Lawson White took the stump for 
Colonel Anderson and there was a joint canvass. between him 
and Colonel Williams. One of the issues in the canvass was 
to the disadvantage of Colonel Anderson. In the Legisla- 
ture of 1825 there was a spirited contest as to the location 
of the permanent capitol of the State. Three cities entered 
the contest — Knoxville, Murfreesboro and Nashville — for 
the coveted prize. Colonel Anderson did not vote in the elec- 
tion. It w r as alleged that he had three brothers, one living 
in Knoxville, one in Murfreesboro and one in Nashville, and 
his failure to vote was because he did not want to offend 
either of them and hence it was averred that he failed to 
represent his immediate constituents. In any event, what- 
ever the cause, Colonel Williams was overwhelmingly 

While in the State Senate Colonel Williams sought the 
passage of a bill to authorize an appeal to the Supreme Court 
of the United States from a decision of the Supreme Court of 
Tennessee which held that a treaty between the United 
States and the Indians then living in Tennessee, in respect 
to certain lands, was superior in title to a grant from the 
State of North Carolina prior to the Cession Act of 1789. 
His speech in the Senate in support of the bill was published 
in the December 5, 1827, issue of the Knoxville Enquirer, 
and exhibited him as an able and profound lawyer. The 
speech occupied seven columns of the Enquirer and went 
very thoroughly into the question of the 'original ownership 
of land by uncivilized tribes. The speech was worthy of the 
United States Senate of w T hich he had been a member for 
eight years. If such a speech were made in the Legislature 
of Tennessee today, it a revelation of brains and 
statesmanship such as State Legislatures very rarely witness 
anywhere in the United States. 


Wagons, packhorscs and wounded in centre. 

Colonel Copeland. 

East Tennessee Militia. 

Colonel Cheatham. 

Rear Guard. 

Emuckfau — old battle ground. 

New Youcau — burnt before. 

High hills. 

Angle at which Montgomery fell. 

Plan of battle of Horse Shoe Bend sent by General Jackson with his report of the battle to 
Governor Blount of Tennessee. 


Coffee Cavalry. 






Indian Village. 



High grounds. 



Breast Works. 






Advanced Guard. 



Hill and Artillery. 





Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 361 

At the time of the election to the State Senate, there 
were only three voting precincts in Knox County, namely, 
Campbell Station, Knoxville and Gibbs', and great crowds 
would assemble at the polls. An incident occurred at the 
Knoxville voting place that is' worthy of note to show the 
fidelity and loyalty of one of Colonel Williams' old family 
servants by the name of Job. Job attended the Knoxville 
precinct, and was assiduous all day long in hunting up Wil- 
liams men, and when one was found willing to be carried, he 
would place the voter on his shoulders with his feet in front 
and carry him to the polls where the voter deposited his bal- 
lot. This was done all day long to the great amusement of 
spectators at the polls. But Job's enthusiasm did not stop 
with this. That night, after it became known that Colonel 
Williams was elected, he took down his fiddle and the current 
report was that he played all night long in manifestation of 
his joy at the result of the election, and that he tested the 
full physical strength of his wife in getting her to dance 
while he played. 


By the end of February Jackson's new army numbered 
five thousand men and the next move was one which was to 
crush the Creek nation and to remove the danger of warfare 
by them for all time to come. This finishing blow was ad- 
ministered at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Colonel Wil- 
liams and Major Lemuel Purnell Montgomery, after the 
battle opened, were the first two on top of the log fortifica- 
tions behind which the Indians fought, and Major Mont- 
gomery was shot dead. They were followed by Sam Hous- 
ton, who was shot with an arrow. 

Colonel Albert James Pickett in his history of Alabama 
gives the following as the record of Colonel Montgomery : 


''Major Lemuel Purnell Montgomery was born in Wythe 
County, Virginia, in 1786. He was a relation by consan- 
quinity of the gallant general of that name who fell at the 
storming of Quebec. His grandfather, Hugh Montgomery, 
of North Carolina, a man of fortune and talents, commanded 

362 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

a Whig company during the Revolution which he equipped 
and supported at his own expense. With this company he 
fought the British and Tories with great success. He was 
a member of the convention which formed the Constitution 
of the State of North Carolina, and not long afterwards, one 
of the counties of that State was named in honor of him. 
The father of Major Montgomery, also named Hugh, was a 
man of talents and having removed to Virginia, was a mem- 
ber of the Senate of that State. At Snow Hill in Maryland 
he married a lady whose maiden name was Purnell, which 
was the middle name of her son, the brave Major who fell 
at the Horse-Shoe. The father removed from Virginia to 
East Tennessee near Knoxville." 

"Major Montgomery completed his education at Wash- 
ington College, Tennessee, studied law with Judge Trimble 
of Knoxville, and established himself in that profession at 
Nashville, where in four years his attainments, eloquence, 
zeal, fearless independence and popular bearing rendered 
him a formidable rival of the able Felix Grundy. During 
this period he was frequently placed at the head of parties 
of armed horsemen, and with them he scoured the dark 
gorges of the Cumberland Mountains in pursuit of desperate 
banditi who had long pillaged the people in the valleys. At 
length he was appointed by Madison as Major of the 39th 
Regiment which he gallantly led to the breastworks of the 
Indians at the Horse-Shoe. He was the first man that 
mounted the breastworks, and, while waving a sword and 
animating his men, a large ball shot from the rifle of a Red 
Stick, entered his head and instantly killed him. When the 
battle was ended Jackson stood over his body and wept. He 
exclaimed, 'I have lost the flower of my army.' " 

"At the time of his death Major Montgomery was only 
28 years of age. His eyes were keen and black, his hair was 
of a dark auburn color, his weight was 175 pounds, his 
height was six feet and two inches, his form was admirably 
proportioned, and he was altogether the finest looking man 
in the army." 

"Major Montgomery's father gave the town site of 
Jacksboro, the county seat to Campbell County, Tennessee, 
and he is buried north of Jacksboro on a prehistoric mound. 
Montgomery, Alabama, was named for Major Montgomery. 
His mother was related to the Donelsons." 

Colonel Gideon Morgan was in command of the friendly 
Cherokee Indians in the battle, who were the mortal and 
traditional enemies of the Creeks. 

After the battle General Jackson expressed profound 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 363 

gratitude to Colonel Williams for the invaluable aid the 39th 
had rendered, saying to him : "Sir, you have placed me on 
the high-road to military fame." 

The flag that Ensign Houston bore in the battle is now 
in the city of Knoxville in the possession of a grand-daughter 
of Colonel John Williams, and was made by the wife of 
Chancellor Thomas L. Williams who went with Hugh Law- 
son White and Luke Lea to Jackson in the wilderness to 
ascertain what assistance could be rendered him in his 
troubles when mutiny was in his camp. Mrs. Williams was 
a grand-daughter of General James White, the founder of 
Knoxville, and daughter of Charles McClung, and sister of 
Hugh L. and Matthew McClung, of Knoxville. The senti- 
ment ''By obedience, unanimity, coolness and bravery the 
soldier ensures safety to his standard," was worked by 
needle on the blue folds of the flag. 

Fortunately the report of the Battle of Horse-shoe Bend 
has been preserved in Jackson's own words, and is in the 
Tennessee Historical Society at Nashville in the handwriting 
of General Jackson. The map with which he accompanied 
the report is herewith reproduced in fac simile. The Amer- 
ican Historical magazine issued at Nashville, which pub- 
lished a large number of the manuscripts of the Tennessee 
Historical Society, in the October, 1899, number, says that 
General Jackson's report of the Battle of Horse-shoe Bend 
was found in a building used by Governor Willie Blount 
as an office in Clarksville, Tennessee, and when the building 
was torn down, this report and many other valuable papers 
came to light. The report was presented to General W. A. 
Quarles who gave it to his nephew, R. T. Quarles, who pre- 
sented it to the Tennessee Historical Society. 

"H. Williams, 31st March, 1814. 
His Excellency Willie Blount: 

"Sir: I am just returned from the expedition which I 
advised you in my last I was about to make to the Talla- 
poosa ; & hasten to acquaint you with the good fortune which 
attended it." 

"I took up the line of march from this place on the morn- 
ing of the 24th inst. ; & having opened a passage of fifty-two 
& a half miles, over the ridges which divide the waters of the 
two rivers, I reached the bend of the Tallapoosa, three miles 

364 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

beyond where I had the engagement of the 22nd January & 
at the southern extremity of Newyouka on the morning of 
the 27th. This bend resembles in its curvature that of a 
horse-shoe, & is thence called by that name among the 
Whites. Nature furnishes few situations so eligible for de- 
fense ; & barbarians have never rendered one more secure by 
art. Across the neck of land which leads into it from the 
North, they had erected a breast-work, of the greatest com- 
pactness & strength, from five to eight feet high, & prepared 
with double rows of portholes very artfully arranged. The 
fiture of this wall, manifested no less skill in the projectors 
of it than its construction : an army could not approach it 
without being exposed to a double & cross-fire from the en- 
emy who lay in perfect security behind it. The area of this 
peninsula, thus bounded by the breastwork, includes, I con- 
jecture, eighty or a hundred acres." 

"In this bend the warriors from Oakfurkee, Oakchoya, 
Newyouka, Hellabee, the Fish-ponds, & Eufaula towns, ap- 
prised of our approach, had collected their strength. Their 
exact number cannot be ascertained; but it is said, by the 
prisoners we have taken, to have been a thousand. It is cer- 
tain they were very numerous ; & that relying with the ut- 
most confidence upon their strength, their situation, & the 
assurances of their prophets, they calculated on repulsing 
us wth great ease." 

"Early on the morning of the 27th having encamped the 
preceding night at the distance of six miles from them, I de- 
tailed Genl. Coffee with the mounted men & nearly the whole 
of the Indian force, to pass the river at a ford about three 
miles below their encampment, & to surround the bend in 
such a manner that none of them should escape by attempt- 
ing to cross the river. With the remainder of the forces I 
proceeded along the point of land which led to the front of 
their breastwork ; & at half past ten oclk A. M. I had planted 
my artillery on a small eminence, distant from its nearest 
point about eighty yards, & from its farthest, about two 
hundred & fifty; from which I immediately opened a brisk 
fire upon its centre. With the musketry and rifles I kept up 
a galling fire whenever the enemy shewed themselves behind 
their works, or ventured to approach them. This was con- 
tinued, with occasional intermissions, for about two hours, 
when Capt. Russell's company of spies & a part of the Chero- 
kee force, headed by their gallant Chieftain, Col Richard 
Brown, & conducted by the brave Col. Morgan, crossed 
over to the extremity of the peninsula in canoes, & set fire 
to a few of their buildings which were there situated. They 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 365 

then advanced with "great gallantry towards the breastwork. 
& commenced firing upon the enemy who lay behind it." 

"Finding that this force, notwithstanding the determined 
bravery they displayed, was wholly insufficient to dislodge 
the enemy, & that Genl. Coffee had secured the opposite 
banks of the river, I now determined upon taking possession 
of their works by storm. Never were men better disposed 
for such an undertaking than those by whom it was to be af- 
fected. They had entreated to be led to the charge with 
the most pressing importunity, & received the order which 
was now given with the strongest demonstrations of joy. 
The effect was such, as this temper of mind, foretold. The 
regular troops, led on by their intrepid, & skillful com- 
mander Col. Williams, & by the gallant Major Montgomery 
were presently in possession of the nearer side of the breast- 
work ; & the militia accompanied them in the charge with a 
vivacity & firmness which could not have been exceeded & 
has seldom been equalled by troops of any description. A 
few companies of Genl. Doherty's Brigade on the right, were 
lead on with great gallantry by Col. Bunch — the advance 
guard, by the adjutant genl., Col. Eitter, and the left extrem- 
ity of the line by Capt. Gordon of the spies, & Capt. Mc- 
Murry, of Genl. Johnston's Brigade of West Tennessee 

"Having maintained for a few minutes a very obsti- 
nate contest, muzzle to muzzle, through the port-holes, in 
which many of the enemy's balls were welded to the bayonets 
of our muskets, our troops succeeded in gaining possession 
of the opposite side of the works. The event could no longer 
be doubtful. The enemy, altho many of them fought to the 
last with that kind of bravery which despiration inspires, 
were at length entirely routed & cut to pieces. The whole 
margin of the river which surrounded the peninsula was 
strewed with the slain. Five hundred & fifty seven were 
found by officers of great respectability whom I had ordered 
to count them; besides a very great number who were 
thrown into the river by their surviving friends, & killed 
in attempting to pass it, by Genl. Coffee's men, stationed on 
the opposite banks. Capt. Hammonds who with his com- 
pany of spies occupied a favourable position opposite the 
upper extremity of the breastwork, did great execution; 
& so did Lieut. Bean, who had been ordered by Genl. Coffee 
to take possession of a small Island fronting the lower ex- 

"Both officers and men who had the best opportunities 
of judging, believe the loss of the enemy in killed, not to fall 
short of eight hundred, & if their number was as great as 

366 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

it is represented to have been, by the prisoners, & as it is be- 
lieved to have been by Col. Carrol & others who had a fair 
view of them as they advanced to the breastworks, their loss 
must even have been more considerable — as it is quite cer- 
tain that not more than twenty can have escaped. Among 
the dead was found their famous prophet Monahoee — shot 
in the mouth by a grape shot ; as if Heaven designed to chas- 
tise his impostures by an appropriate punishment. Two 
other prophets were also killed — leaving no others, as I 
learn, on the Tallapoosa." 

"I lament that two or three women & children were killed 
by accident." 

"I do not know the exact number of prisoners taken; 
but it must exceed three hundred — all women & children 
except three or four." 

"The battle may be said to have continued with severity 
for about five hours ; but the firing & the slaughter continued 
until it was suspended by the darkness of the night. The 
next morning it was resumed, & sixteen of the enemy slain 
who had concealed themselves under the banks." 

"Our loss was twenty-six white men, killed, & one hun- 
dred and seven wounded. Cherokees, eighteen killed, & 
thirty six wounded, friendly Creeks 5 killed & 11 wounded." 

"The loss of Col. Williams' regt. of Regulars is seventeen 
killed and fifty five wounded ; 3 of whom have since died. 
Among the former were Maj. Montgomery, Lieut. Somer- 
ville, & Lieut. Moulton, who fell in the charge which was 
made on the works. No men ever acted more gallantly or 
fell more gloriously." 

"Of the Artillery company, commanded by Capt. Par- 
ish, eleven were wounded ; one of whom, Lieut. Gaines, has 
since died. Lieutenants Allen & Ridley were both wounded. 
The whole company acted with its usual gallantry. Capt. 
Bradford, of the 17th U. S. Infantry, who acted as Chief 
Engineer, & superintended the firing of the cannon, has en- 
titled himself by his good conduct, to my warmest thanks." 

"To say all in a word the whole army who achieved this 
fortunate victory, have merited by their good conduct, the 
gratitude of their country. So far as I saw, or could learn 
there was not an officer or soldier who did not perform his 
duty with the utmost fidelity. The conduct of the militia 
on this occasion has gone far towards redeeming the charac- 
ter of that description of troops. They have been as orderly 
in their encampment & on their line of march, as they have 
been signally brave in the day of battle." 

"In a few days I shall take up the line of march for the 
Hickory ground, & have everything to hope from such 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 367 

"Enclosed I send you Genl. Coffee's Brigade report. 

I have the honor to be 
with great respect 
Your obt st 

Major Genl." 


General Coffee at Fort Williams wrote an account of the 
Horseshoe on April 1 : 

"We found the enemy enforted in the bend of the river, 
with a very strong breastwork. Before we reached them, 
six miles, I was detached with seven hundred mounted men, 
and six hundred friendly Indians to cross the river three 
miles below, and take possession of the opposite side of the 
river, to prevent the enemy from crossing, and escaping our 
army when attacked. All our plans were executed to great 
advantage indeed. Just as I had formed my men in line, 
about a quarter of a mile from the river, the cannon of our 
army in front commenced firing; and before one Indian 
crossed the river we had possession of the bank. The great- 
er part of the enemy fought with savage fury, while others 
of them ran in all directions, throwing themselves into the 
river, and attempting to swim over ; but not one escaped in 
that way." 

"The battle commenced at half after ten in the morning 
and continued until night. Our cannon played on their 
breastwork near two hours, together with a great discharge 
of small arms, when our men charged their walls by storm, 
which was done with great vigor and success. Before we 
stormed their works, the friendly Indians had got in the rear 
of the enemy, which prevented them from flying back to 
their buildings. They stood the charge to admiration, and 
it was not unusual for the muzzles of the guns of both parties 
to meet in the portholes, and both fire at the same time. 
But the enemy was obliged to fly to the river ; when all the 
remaining part, that had not been killed before, were shot 
in the water, except a few that hid under the banks of the 
river, whom our men continued to find and kill until it be- 
came too dark to see. Perhaps fifteen or twenty swam out 
that night, which is all that escaped. The slaughter was 
greater than all we had done before. We killed not less than 
eight hundred and fifty or nine hundred of them, and took 
about five hundred squaws and children prisoners. The 
Hickory Ground is the next object; but how soon, we cannot 
tell. Our horses are worn down, and I fear will all die. 

368 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

I will only add that things are quite different here to what 
they were in our former army. All is now content — no 
murmuring to be heard." 


The Colonel Gideon Morgan who commanded the friendly 
Cherokees at the battle of the Horse-shoe, has numerous de- 
scendants living in Tennessee and especially in and near 
Knoxville. Colonel Morgan addressed a letter to Secretary 
of State William G. Blount giving an account of the battle, 
which is one of the clearest and best written of any in ref- 
erence to the engagement Colonel Morgan was shot but 
fortunately not fatally. His letter follows : 

'Tort Williams, April 1, 1814. 

"You have been informed of our departure from Fort 
Strother and arrival at this place on the 21st March. On 
the 24th General Jackson took up his line of march for To- 
hopeka, or fortified town on the Tallapoosa, commonly called 
the 'Horseshoe' — on the evening of the 28th he encamped 
about six miles northwest of it — the army next morning was 
divided into two divisions. The horse and Indians com- 
manded by General Coffee crossed the river two miles below 
the town with directions to line the bank in the w T hole extent 
of the bend by the Cherokees and friendly Creeks — while 
the horse acted as a guard upon the high ground to defend 
our rear from an attack from the Oakfuskee Indians, who 
were expected from below. This precaution was, however, 
unnecessary as their w 7 hole force had been concentrated the 
day before. General Coffee had arrived on the opposite 
shore, about half a mile below the town, wiien General Jack- 
son's approach before the fortification was announced by the 
discharge of artillery, and in quick succession that of a brig- 
ade of infantry. The Cherokees immediately rushed to the 
point assigned them, which they did in regular order, and in 
a manner honorable to themselves — that is, the bank was 
in no place left vacant, and those fugitives who had taken to 
flight fell an easy prey to their vengeance." 

"The draft which Lieutenant Rece incloses will give you 
a better description of the place than I can, to which I refer. 
The breastwork was composed of five large logs, with two 
ranges of portholes, well put together. Artillery had no ef- 
fect, more than to bore it wherever it struck; nature had 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 369 

done much, but when completed by art, the place was for- 
midable indeed. The high ground which extended about 
midway from the breastwork to the river was in some man- 
ner open, but the declivity and flat which surrounded it was 
filled with fallen timber, the growth of which was very 
heavy, and had been so arranged that every tree afforded 
them a breastwork, forming a communication or cover to the 
next, and so on to the river bank, in which caverns had been 
dug for their security and our annoyance. The breastwork 
in its whole extent was lined by savages, made desperate 
from their situation. The Thirty-ninth was drawn up on 
the left in a line extending from the center to the river 
bank ; the right was occupied by the militia, the artillery on 
an eminence 200 yards in rear of the breastwork, on which 
it kept up a steady and well-directed fire, though without 

"In this manner the battle became stationary for some 
time, say one hour, when the Cherokees crossed the river by 
swimming and brought from the opposite shore a number of 
canoes, in which they crossed under cover of the town and 
their own guns; they halted under cover of the bank, and 
the canoes were sent back for reinforcement. Understand- 
ing General Jackson was about charging the breastworks in 
its whole extent, I rode with all possible dispatch to inform 
Major Montgomery, who commanded the left of the Thirty- 
ninth, on the river above. On my return about 150 or 200 
Cherokees had crossed and were then warmly engaged with 
the hostile Creeks. I then crossed with Major Walker and 30 
others and ascended the high ground, which the Cherokees 
were then in possession of. We were warmly assailed on 
every quarter except our rear, where we only kept open by 
the dint of hard fighting. The Cherokees were continually 
crossing, and our number increased in about the proportion 
in which the Creeks were diminished, who lay prostrate in 
every quarter. Their numbers were vastly superior to ours, 
but were occupied in maintaining their breastworks, which 
they appeared determined never to surrender. About one 
hour after my arrival on the summit I received a wound in 
the right side of my head which had like to have terminated 
my existence. I, however, in a short time recovered, and 
heard the heavenly intelligence that the Thirty-ninth had 
charged and were then in possession of the breastworks. 
This was an arduous undertaking, and the cool, deliberate 
manner in which it was effected reflects the highest credit on 
this bulwark of our army." 

"I shall not attempt a description. In the detailed 
official account justice no doubt will be done them. The 
fight commenced seventeen minutes after ten and continued 

370 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

without intermission until dark; the next morning some 
were killed who, it appears, were determined never to quit^ 
their enchanted ground. On counting their dead, 557 were 
found on the field, many I know perished in crossing, and 
numbers were sunk in the river. The whole loss in killed 
could not be less than 700 or 800. The loss of the Thirty- 
ninth, 72 killed and wounded. Major Montgomery, Lieuten- 
ant Sommerville, and Lieutenant Moulton w r ere among 
the former. The loss of the Cherokees, 18 killed and 35 
wounded, many badly. The Cherokees have been permitted 
to return to their homes." 


On August 6, 1907, the Legislature of Alabama passed an 
Act creating a commission of seven members composed of 
the Governor of the State, the Director of the Department 
of Archives and History, and five others, to be appointed by 
the Governor, authorized to prepare plans and details for the 
appropriate celebration on or about March 27th, 1914, of the 
100th anniversary of the Battle of Horse-shoe Bend which 
occurred on March 27, 1814. 

On March 3, 1909, this commission presented a memorial 
to the Congress of the United States praying Congress to 
establish a military park on the battle field of Horse-shoe 
Bend. On March 27th, 1914, what was called a preliminary 
anniversary was held on the field of the battle, and on July 
4, 1914, a second celebration was held continuing all day 
and embodying a very elaborate program. His Excellency 
Emmet O'Neal, Governor of Alabama, presided at the exer- 
cises and delivered the address of welcome, and distin- 
guished people from a number of States made addresses. 
Descendants of General John Coffee, Colonel John Williams 
and Colonel Gideon Morgan, all of w T hom took part in the 
battle, were presented to the audience, and among these 
was Miss Marion Sevier Rogers of Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, 
who was a great, great, grand-daughter of Governor John 
Sevier of Tennessee. Mrs. Nora E. Miller, of Dadeville, 
Alabama, was also presented, by whom the site was given 
for the monument to be erected by the United States Govern- 

Presentation was made to the Governor of the deed to 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 371 

the land on which the battle of Emuckfau was fought Janu- 
ary 22, 1914. 

Hon. John Trotwood Moore of Nashville read an orig- 
inal poem on Andrew Jackson. 


General Jackson established Fort Jackson at the junction 
of Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers in the Holy Ground and 
there received deputations of Indians looking to a treaty 
of peace. On April 20th, 1814, General Thomas Pinckney, 
a Major General of the regular army, reached Fort Jackson 
and took command, and General Jackson's forces took up the 
march to Fayetteville, Tennessee, where they were dismissel 
from the service and the General started to his home. 

In May, 1814, General Harrison had a misunderstanding 
with the Secretary of War which led to the General's resig- 
nation, and General Jackson was appointed in his place a 
Major General of the army of the United States. 

After his appointment as a Major General he was or- 
dered by the War Department to make a treaty with the 
Creeks, which was done on August 10, 1814. 

The Treaty of Fort Jackson contained nine articles of 
which the following is an abstract: 

Article 1. The United States demanded as an equiva- 
lent for the expense incurred in prosecuting the war to its 
termination a boundary of Creek territory set out and de- 
scribed in this article. 

Article 2. The United States guaranteed to the Creek 
Nation the integrity of all their territory eastwardly and 
northwardly of the territory ceded. 

Article 3. The United States demanded that the Creeks 
abandon all communication with any British or Spanish 
post, garrison, or town, and that they should not admit any 
commercial agent among them except such as might be 
licensed by the United States. 

Article 4. The United States demanded an acknowl- 
edgement of the right to establish military posts, trading 
houses, and to open roads in the territory guaranteed to the 

372 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Article 5. The United States demanded the surrender 
of all persons and property taken from citizens of the United 
States and the friendly Creeks, Cherokees, Chickasaws and 
Choctaws, and that the United States would cause to be re- 
stored to the Creeks all property taken from them since their 

Article 6. The United States demanded the surrender 
of all of the prophets and instigators of the war who had 
not submitted to the arms of the United States, if ever they 
should be found within the territory guaranteed to the Creek 

Article 7. The United States agreed to furnish gratui- 
tously the necessaries of life until the corn crops of the 
Creeks were considered sufficient to yield them a supply. 

Article 8. A permanent peace should ensue from the 
date of the treaty forever between the Creeks and the United 
States, and between the Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws and 

Article 9. If in running the line east from the mouth of 
a creek named the settlements of the Kinnards should fall 
within the territory ceded to the United States, the line 
should be changed so as to exclude the said settlements from 
the ceded territory. 

After the treaty of Fort Jackson General Jackson's next 
move was to successfully defend Fort Bowyer at Mobile 
Bay from an assault by the British fleet, and he then moved 
on to New Orleans which he was to successfully defend in a 
battle which has been the wonder of every historian who has 
written about it. 

Andrew Jackson. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 373 



Edward Pakenham, the Commander of the British force 
at New Orleans which Andrew Jackson defeated in twenty- 
five minutes in the early morning of January 8, 1815, was a/ 
brother-in-law of the Duke of Wellington — the Duke having 
married his sister — was thirty-seven years old, had served 
in the army twenty years, and was appointed Commander 
on the recommendation of Wellington. He had a great rec- 
ord in the Peninsular war under Wellington, and, at the Bat- 
tle of Salamanca in Spain, July 2, 1812, commanded the 
Third Division, known as the "Fighting Third,' and by his 
handling of that Division won the battle. After this battle 
Wellington wrote about him: "Pakenham may not be the 
brightest genius, but my partiality for him does not lead me 
astray when I tell you that he is one of the best we have." 

His first independent command was at New Orleans to 
which point he sailed from Portsmouth, England, in Novem- 
ber, 1814, and took charge of the British forces before New 
Orleans on Christmas Day following. 

The British made three distinct assaults on Jackson's 
army, the first on the night of December 23, 1814, the second 
on the morning of January 1, 1815, and the third, which is 
called the Battle of New Orleans, on the morning of January 
8, 1815. 

Charles Francis Adams says in one of his Military 
Studies that Pakenham in England even more than in Amer- 
ica, is an almost forgotten military character. The reason 
for this in England is not difficult to ascertain. The Eng- 
lish regarded the War of 1812 as a small affair compared to 
the Napoleonic wars, and so it was. Bonaparte taxed Eng- 
land's finances and man power to the limit. Pakenham lost 
the battle of New Orleans and met with that oblivion which 
is the usual portion of the unsuccessful — whether generals 

374 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

or others. But even if he had won the battle he would have 
acquired no special distinction in the English mind; as they 
were accustomed to express themselves in contemptuous 
terms of the backwoods Americans as soldiers and fighters. 

But there is every reason why the Americans should re- 
member General Pakenham at his full measure of ability 
and leadership ; for to do otherwise is to lessen the claims of 
Jackson to military distinction because of winning the Battle 
of New Orleans. History would accord no Credit to Jackson 
for having defeated a military pigmy or novice, and Paken- 
ham was neither ; he had won solid fame in the bloody Penin- 
sular War. 

Those twenty-five minutes of marvelous success on Jan- 
uary 8, 1815, won the Presidency for Jackson, and a fame 
that at this time — one hundred and two years afterwards — 
shows no sign of lessening. 

If the telegraph or ocean cable had been in use in those 
days there would have been no Battle of New Orleans, and 
Jackson's fame as a Commander would have risen no higher 
than the Battle of the Horseshoe. 

On December 24, 1814, the envoys of the United States 
and Great Britain at Ghent signed a treaty of peace between 
the two nations, and on the 26th of December, Henry Carroll, 
one of the Secretaries of the American envoys, started for 
the United States with a copy of the treaty, and on January 
2, 1815, sailed from Portsmouth, England, for New York, 
where he landed on Saturday, February 11th, 1815, at the 
Battery. The next day, Sunday, he started for Washington, 
where he arrived on Tuesday night, and went at once to Sec- 
retary of State, James Monroe, and the two proceeded to 
President James Madison, who was living at the time in a 
private residence, the White House having been burned by 
the British a few months before. 

General Jackson arrived at New Orleans December 2, 
1814, and found there a city of about twenty thousand popu- 
lation made up of Spaniards, French Creoles and Americans ; 
all the elements but the Americans lacking enterprise and 
loving pleasure and luxury. The city was not rich as the 
cotton and sugar trade which subsequently became the basis 
of its wealth, was not then developed. As it was on the 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 375 

frontier, it was like frontier towns generally, the resort of 
the floating and the criminal population of the country. 

Two weeks after General Jackson's arrival, or about the 
middle of December, the following troops were what he had 
to rely upon to defend the city : two regiments of regular 
troops numbering about eight hundred ; Major Planches' vol- 
unteers of about five hundred ; two regiments of State militia 
poorly equipped; a battalion of free negroes; altogether 
about two thousand men. The schooner Carolina and the 
ship Louisiana were anchored in the river, but neither of 
them manned. Commodore Patterson and other naval of- 
ficers were in the city ready for such services as they could 
render. General Coffee was en route with his men from 
Pensacola. General Carroll had raised a force of volunteers 
in Tennessee, and was floating down to New Orleans, with 
only about one-tenth of his men equipped with arms. For- 
tunately there was a boat load of muskets being transported 
to New Orleans by water, and General Carroll took these 
and drilled his men while floating on the water. These 
muskets had been shipped by boat at Pittsburg. General 
Thomas and General Adair were also on their way down the 
Mississippi with two thousand Kentuckians, poorly provided 
for and lacking almost every equipment necessary for a mil- 
itary campaign. They had the good fortune to overtake a 
boat load of flour en route and supplied themselves with 
bread. There were six gunboats on Lake Borgne. 

The English force had been rendezvoused in Negril Bay 
at the Island of Jamaica and on the day the force sailed 
for Lake Borgne near New Orleans it consisted of fifty 
armed vessels, some of the strongest and most powerful in 
the English navy, with Sir Alexander Cockrane, the Admiral, 
in command of the fleet. Rear Admiral Sir Edward Cod- 
rington was next in command. Another fleet from Bordeaux 
was on the ocean en route to join Admiral Cockrane at Lake 
Borgne. Captain Percy with his squadron from Pensacola 
was also to join. The English land forces were under the 
command of Major General John Keane and consisted of 
about twenty thousand men made up of English regulars, 
1,500 marines, two negro regiments taken from the West 
Indies, and ten thousand sailors. This force with its fifty 

376 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

ships carrying a thousand guns was a very formidable enemy 
for Jackson and his little, poorly equipped army to meet. 
The English regulars were from the battlefields of the Penin- 
sular War where they had fought triumphantly under the 
Duke of Wellington. England was attempting by tihis 
formidable expedition to take possession of Louisiana and 
the Mississippi Valley, and to join the English army from 
Canada, thereby to hold the grandest section of the globe. 

Lake Borgne was a small arm of the Gulf of Mexico 
where Jackson had six gunboats to aid in the defense of the 
city. This lake leads by a channel into Lake Pontchartrain, 
by which latter lake entrance would be given into New 
Orleans from the upper side, and thereby afford a rear 
attack on Jackson's army, and this was one of the plans of 
campaign of the English. The defense of Lake Borgne, 
therefore, became vitally necessary to Jackson, but, unhap- 
pily, the six gunboats were taken by the English naval 
forces. The loss of the gunboats, of course, created conster- 
nation in the city and all kinds of rumors were afloat. Gen- 
eral Jackson thought it necessary to issue an address to the 
citizens which he did on December 15th. 


"To the Citizens of New Orleans : 

"The Major General commanding has, with astonishment 
and regret, learned that great consternation and alarm per- 
vade your city. It is true the enemy is on our coast, and 
threatens an invasion of our territory ; but it is equally true, 
with union, energy, and the approbation of heaven, we will 
beat him at every point his temerity may induce him to set 
foot upon our soil. The General, with still greater astonish- 
ment, has heard that British emissaries have been permitted 
to propagate seditious reports among you, that the threat- 
ened invasion is with a view of restoring the country to 
Spain, from a supposition that some of you would be willing 
to return to your ancient government. Believe not such 
incredible tales — your government is at peace with Spain — 
it is the vital enemy of your country, the common enemy of 
mankind, the highway robber of the world, that threatens 
you, and has sent his hirelings among you with this false 
report to put you off your guard, that you may fall an easy 
prey to him ; — then look to your liberties, your property, the 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 377 

chastity of your wiyes and daughters — take a retrospect of 
the British army at Hampton and other places, where it has 
entered our country, and every bosom which glows with pa- 
triotism and virtue will be inspired with indignation, and 
pant for the arrival of the hour when we shall meet and re- 
venge those outrages against the laws of civilization and 

"The General calls upon the inhabitants of the city to 
trace this unfounded report to its source, and bring the 
propagator to condign punishment. The rules and articles 
of war annex the punishment of death to any person holding 
secret correspondence with the enemy, creating false alarms, 
or supplying him with provisions; and the Geenral an- 
nounces his unalterable determination rigidly to execute the 
martial law in all cases which may come within his province. 

"The safety of the district intrusted to the protection of 
the General, must and will be maintained with the best blood 
of the country ; and he is confident that all good citizens will 
be found at their posts, with their arms in their hands, de- 
termined to dispute every inch of ground with the enemy; 
that unanimity will pervade the country generally; but 
should the General be disappointed in this expectation, he 
will separate our enemies from our friends — those who are 
not for us are against us, and will be dealt with accord- 

General Jackson's next move was the one which made 
possible his wonderful defense of the city of New Orleans — 
the placing of the city under martial law, which is always 
a last measure. Martial law was proclaimed on December 
16 by the following 


"Major General Andrew Jackson, commanding the sev- 
enth United States military district, declares the city and 
environs of New Orleans under strict martial law, and or- 
ders that in future the following rules be rigidly enforced, 

"Every individual entering the city will report to the ad- 
jutant-general's office, and, on failure, to be arrested and 
held for examination. 

"No persons shall be permitted to leave the city without 
a permission in writing, signed by the General or one of his 

"No vessels, boats or other craft will be permitted to 
leave New Orleans or Bayou St. John without a passport in 
writing from the General or one of his staff, or the com- 

378 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

mander of the naval forces of the United States on this 

"The street lamps shall be extinguished at the hour of 
nine at night, after which time persons of every description 
found in the streets or not in their respective homes, with- 
out permission in writing, as aforesaid, and not having the 
countersign, shall be apprehended as spies and held for ex- 

It was one of Jackson's characteristics that he never 
failed at any time in his career to meet an emergency boldly 
and exactly as it should be met for successful resistance; 
he never failed to assume responsibility, and the phrase "I 
will be responsible" was one that was frequently on his lips. 
The man's moral fearlessness was just as great as his physi- 
cal courage, and neither ever wavered. 

On the 18th of December General Jackson reviewed his 
troops and had Edward Livingstone, his aide, to read them 
an address which is one of the most celebrated addresses 
of his career ; it will be noted that the address contains 
something directed to each particular portion of his troops. 
It will repay careful perusal. 


"To THE embodied militia. — Fellow Citizens and Sol- 
diers : The general commander in chief would not do jus- 
tice to the noble ardor that has animated you in the hour 
of danger, he would do justice to his own feelings, if 
he suffered the example you have shown to pass without 
public notice. Inhabitants of an opulent and commercial 
town, you have, by a spontaneous effort, shaken off the 
habits which are created by wealth, and shown that you 
are resolved to deserve the blessings of fortune by bravely 
defending them. Long strangers to the perils of war, you 
have embodied yourselves to face them with the cool coun- 
tenance of veterans; and with motives of disunion that 
might operate on weak minds, you have forgotten the dif- 
ference of language and the prejudices of national pride, 
and united with a cordiality that does honor to your under- 
standing as well as to your patriotism. Natives of the 
United States! They are the oppressors of your infant 
political existence with whom you are to contend; they are 
the men your fathers conquered whom you are to oppose. 
Descendants of Frenchmen! natives of France! they are 
English, the hereditary, the eternal enemies of your ancient 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 379 

country, the invaders of that you have adopted, who are 
your foes. Spaniards ! remember the conduct of your allies 
at St. Sebastians, and recently at Pensacola, and rejoice 
that you have an opportunity of avenging the brutal inju- 
ries inflicted by men who dishonor the human race. 

"Fellow-citizens, of every description, remember for 
what, and against whom you contend. For all that can ren- 
der life desirable — for a country blessed with every gift of 
nature — for prosperity, for life — for those dearer than 
either, your wives and children — and for liberty, without 
which, country, life, property, are no longer worth posses- 
sing; as even the embraces of wives and children become a 
reproach to the wretch who would deprive them by his cow- 
ardice of those invaluable blessings. You are to contend for 
all this against an enemy whose continued effort is to de- 
prive you of the least of these blessings ; who avows a war 
of vengeance and desolation, carried on and marked by cru- 
elty, lust, and horrors unknown to civilized nations. 

"Citizens of Louisiana! the General commanding in chief 
rejoices to see the spirit that animates you, not only for your 
honor but for your safety ; for whatever had been your con- 
duct or wishes, his duty would have led, and w r ill now lead 
him to confound the citizen unmindful of his rights with 
the enemy he ceases to oppose. Now, leading men who 
know their rights, who are determined to defend them, he 
salutes you, brave Louisianians, as brethren in arms, and 
has now a new motive to exert all his faculties, which shall 
be strained to the utmost in your defense. Continue with 
the energy you have begun, and he promises you not only 
safety, but victory over the insolent enemy who insulted 
you by an affected doubt of your attachement to the Con- 
stitution of your country. 


I first looked at you on the day of my arrival I was satisfied 
with your appearance, and every day's inspection since has 
confirmed the opinion I then formed. Your numbers have 
increased with the increase of danger, and your ardor has 
augmented since it was known that your post would be one 
of peril and honor. This is the true love of country ! You 
have added to it an exact discipline, and a skill in evolutions 
rarely attained by veterans ; the state of your corps does 
equal honor to the skill of the officers and the attention of 
the men. With such defenders our country has nothing to 
fear. Every thing I have said to the body of militia applies 
equally to you — you have made the same sacrifices — you 
have the same country to defend, the same motive for exer- 
tion — but I should have been unjust had I not noticed, as 

380 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

it deserved, the excellence of your discipline and the mar- 
tial appearance of your corps. 

"To the men of color : — Soldiers ! From the shores of 
Mobile I collected you to arms — I invited you to share in 
the perils and to divide the glory of your white countrymen. 
I expected much from you, for I was not uninformed of 
those qualities which must render you so formidable to an 
invading foe. I knew that you could endure hunger and 
thirst and all the hardships of war. I knew that you loved 
the land of your nativity, and that, like ourselves, you had 
to defend all that is most dear to man. But you surpass my 
hopes. I have found in you, united to these qualities, that 
noble enthusiasm which impels me to great deeds. 

"Soldiers! The President of the United States shall be 
informed of your conduct on the present occasion, and the 
voice of the Representatives of the American nation shall 
applaud your valor, as your General now praises your ardor. 
-The enemy is near. His sails cover the lakes. But the brave 
are united; and if he finds us contending among ourselves, 
it will be for the prize of valor, and fame its noblest re- 

The day after General Jackson's review of his troops, 
General Coffee arrived with his mounted men, many of 
whom by reason of sickness, fatigue and exposure, were 
unable to take part in the defense of the city. Coffee's men 
were the best marksmen in Jackson's army. After Coffee, 
Colonel Hinds arrived with his Mississippi Dragoon^, and 
on December 22 General Carroll came in, supplied with mus- 

The first clash between the English and Jackson was 
on the night of December 23, and Jackson brought on the 
fight. Historians generally agree that this aggressive move- 
ment by Jackson is the finest evidence of his military ability, 
and really saved New Orleans. The English believed that 
the Americans would not fight except when attacked, and 
Jackson did not wait for an attack. They gained the im- 
pression by this that his army was strong enough to risk 
taking the aggressive ; and from other sources also had the 
idea that he was in command of a very strong force. Not 
expecting an attack at night, the English were totally un- 
prepared for it, and the moral effect in Jackson's favor was 
overwhelming. The English forces attacked consisted of 
about sixteen hundred men, to be strengthened by large 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 381 

numbers the following day and until the entire English force 
was located for an assault upon Jackson's lines. 

The British lost forty-six killed, 'one hundred sixty-seven 
wounded, sixty-four prisoners. The American loss was 
twenty-four killed, one hundred fifteen wounded, seventy- 
four missing. Among the Americans killed was Lieutenant 
Lauderdale, Who had fought with Jackson in the Creek war. 
The fight began at half past seven o'clock and continued 
one hour and forty-five minutes. Jackson's report of this 
battle gives credit to each of the Divisions under his com- 


"The best compliment that I can pay to General Coffee 
and his brigade is to say they behaved as they have always 
done while under my command. The seventh, led by Major 
Peire, and the forty-fourth, commanded by Colonel Ross, 
distinguished themselves. The battalion of city militia, 
commanded by Major Planche, realized my anticipations, 
and behaved like veterans. Savary's volunteers manifested 
great bravery; and the company of city riflemen, having 
penetrated into the midst of the enemy's camp, were sur- 
rounded, and fought their way out with the greatest hero- 
ism, bringing with them a number of prisoners. The two 
field pieces were well served by the officer commanding them. 
All my officers in the line did their duty, and I have every 
reason to be satisfied with the whole of my field and staff. 
Colonels Butler and Piatt, and Major Chotard, by their in- 
trepidity, saved the artillery. Colonel Hayne was every- 
where that duty or danger called. I was deprived of the 
services of one of my aids, Captain Butler, whom I was 
obliged to station, to his great regret, in town. Captain 
Reid, my other aid, and Messrs. Livingston, Duplessis and 
Davezac, who had volunteered their services, faced danger 
whenever it was to be met, and carried my orders with the 
utmost promptitude. Colonel Dellaronde, Major Villere of 
the Louisiana militia, Major Latour of engineers, having no 
command, volunteered their services, as did Drs. Kerr and 
Flood, and were of great assistance to me." 

Promptly on the following day General Jackson put 
every available hand to work deepening and widening the 
Roderiguez canal, and throwing the dirt upon one side, be- 
hind which his men were located, and where he intended to 
make, and did make, his final and successful stand against 

382 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History " 

the English assault. Every available tool in New Orleans 
for digging and moving earth was brought into requisition, 
and as a result, the Roderiguez canal comes down in history 
as one of the celebrated means of defense in a great battle. 

After the night attack it is said that Jackson did not 
sleep until the night of the twenty-seventh, but devoted 
heart, soul, and every particle of his vital energy, in getting 
ready for the next attack. 

Major General Sir Edward Pakenham arrived on De- 
cember 25th to take charge of the British forces, with Ma- 
jor General Samuel Gibbs with him as second in command, 
and the English expected a great deal from Pakenham's 

On December 27th, the Carolina, which had do'ne such 
effective service, was shot out of existence by the British 
artillery, and the British guns were then trained upon the 
Louisiana, which saved itself only by changing its position 
half a mile. 

On New Year's Day, 1815, about ten o'clock in the morn- 
ing, after a very heavy fog had raised, the English artillery 
of about thirty pieces opened fire upon the American line, 
and the second drama in the attack and defense of New 7 
Orleans commenced. This attack, of course, was under the 
command of General Pakenham. The fight continued until 
about noon when the British fire slackened, and upon count- 
ing up the casualties at the end of the fight, it was found 
that the British had thirty killed and forty wounded, and 
the Americans eleven killed and twenty-three wounded. 

The Kentuckians numbering 2,250 reached New Orleans 
January 4th, unequipped and unprepared to render effective 
service in the defense of the city. The historians record 
that only one man in ten was well armed, and only one in 
three was armed at all. 

The final battle in defense of New Orleans occurred on 
the morning of January 8, 1815, and opened with a rocket 
sent up as a signal for the attack about six o'clock, just as 
the fog was lifting. The twenty-five minutes of the battle 
that followed was a tremendous twenty-five minutes, and 
pregnant with vast results in the history of Andrew Jack- 
son and the people of the United States. During this twen- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 383 

ty-five minutes General Pakenham was killed, leading his 
men in grand style. General Gibbs followed, meeting his 
death gallantly serving Great Britain. General Keane was 
painfully, but not fatally wounded. Jackson won, and the 
American Presidency and immortality were his reward. 

The British lost seven hundred killed, fourteen hundred 
wounded, and five hundred prisoners. The Americans lost 
eight killed and thirteen wounded. 

For the purpose of acquainting this generation of Ten- 
nesseans with all of the generals, officers, regiments and 
commands at the battle of New Orleans, which Tennesseans 
have always felt that they won, we set out, as far as ascer- 
tained, a full statement of those engaged: Generals Jack- 
son, Coffee, Carroll, Thomas, Adair, Humbert, Morgan and 
Major Hind and his Mississippi dragoons. 

Battery Number One, Camp Jackson, was manned by 
the United States Artillery, Captain Humphreys, and Vol- 
unteer Dragoons, Major St. Genie; Battery Number Two 
by artillery under Lieutenant Norris of the Navy; Battery 
Number Three by the Barataria Smugglers, Captains Dom- 
inique and Beluche; B'attery Number Four by Lieutenant 
Crowley of the Navy; Battery Number Five, by Colonel 
Perry; Battery Number Six by volunteer artillerists under 
General Flanjeac and Lieutenant Bertel; Battery Number 
Seven by regular artillery under Lieutenants Spotts and 
Chaveau; Battery Number Eight by a detachment of mili- 
tia; extreme right occupied by the "New Orleans Rifles." 
Other points in line of defense by the 7th Louisiana Militia, 
Major Pierre; Major Planche's New Orleans companies; 
Major Lacortes colored regiment; Major Daquin's second 
regiment of color; detachment of the 44th Regiment under 
Captain Baker; General Carroll's Tennesseans supported 
by General Adair's Kentuckians and General Coffee's Ten- 
nesseans. The western bank : General Morgan's Louisiana 
troops; Colonel Cavelier's 2nd Louisiana militia and the 
1st Louisiana regiment of militia and Kentuckians under 
Colonel Davis and Major Arnaud. Fort St. Philip, on Jan- 
uary 9, the day of the bombardment by the enemy was 
garrisoned by Major Overton. 

384 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

In the story of the battle of New Orleans a great deal 
has been written about "Booty and Beauty" as the reward 
by the British troops in the event the city had been taken ; 
and that this was the expectation of at least some of the En- 
glish troops, and that the town would have been looted and 
women despoiled, seems absolutely certain if the conduct of 
the soldiers who had served under Wellington in Spain is to 
be taken as a standard of their conduct in New Orleans. 
There is no evidence, however, that General Pakenham, wmo 
served with the Duke of Wellington in Spain ever counte- 
nanced such unspeakably infamous conduct by English sol- 
diers, but the soldiers themselves are convicted upon the 
historical testimony of the Duke of Wellington and of Major 
General Sir W. F. P. Napier, an English General. 

On page 227, part II of his "Naval War of 1812," Roose- 
velt quotes Wellington as follows in reference to the con- 
duct of his soldiers : 

"It is impossible to describe to you the irregularities and 
outrages committed by the troops. They are never out of 
sight of their officers, I might almost say, out of sight of 
the commanding officers of the regiments, that outrages 
are not committed. . . . There is not an outrage of any 
description which has not been committed on a people who 
have uniformly received them as friends." "I really believe 
that more plunder and outrages have been committed by 
this army than by any other that ever was in the field." "A 
detachment seldom marches . . . that a murder, or a 
highway robbery, or some act of outrage is not committed 
by the British soldiers composing it. They have killed eight 
people since the army returned to Portugal." "They really 
forget everything when plunder or wine is within reach." 

Major General Sir W. F. P. Napier, K. C. B., took part 
in the Peninsular War waged between the French on the 
one side, and the British, Spanish and Portugese on the 
other, and which lasted from 1807 to 1814. Wellington com- 
manded the British forces and General Napier served under 
him. General Napier published a history of the Peninsular 
War in five volumes, and in the preface said that he was 
an eye witness to many of the transactions related in this 
history; his statements, therefore, must be accepted as con- 
clusive as to the conduct of the British soldiers in the war. 
After the British had captured the city of B'adajos he says 
on page 377 of Volume 3 : 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 385 

"Now commenced that wild and desperate wickedness 
which tarnished the luster of the soldiers' heroism. All, 
indeed, were not alike for hundreds risked and many lost 
their lives in striving to stop the violence ; but the madness 
generally prevailed, and as the worst men were leaders here, 
all the dreadful passions of human nature were displayed. 
Shameless rapacity, brutal intemperance, savage lust, cru- 
elty and murder, shrieks and piteous lamentations, the hiss- 
ing of fires bursting from the houses, the crashing of doors 
and windows and the reports of muskets used in violence, 
resounded for two clays and nights in the streets of Bada- 
jos! On the third, when the city was sacked, when the 
soldiers were exhausted by their excesses, the tumult rather 
subsided than was quelled." 

On page 411 of Volume 4 he says : 

"This storm seemed to be a signal from hell for the 
perpetration of villainy which would have shamed the most 
ferocious barbarians of antiquity. At Rodrigo intoxication 
and plunder had been the principal object. At Badajos lust 
and murder were joined to rapine and drunkenness, but at 
San Sebastian the direst, the most revolting cruelty was 
added to the catalogue of crimes — one atrocity of which a 
girl of seventeen was the victim, staggers the mind by its 
enormous, incredible, indescribable barbarity. The resolu- 
tion of the troops to throw off discipline was quickly made 
manifest. A British staff officer was pursued with a volley 
of small arms, and escaped with difficulty from men who 
mistook him for the Provost-Marshal of the Fifth Division ; 
a Portugese Adjutant who endeavored to prevent some wick- 
edness was put to death in the market place, not with sud- 
den violence from a single ruffian, but deliberately by a 
number of English soldiers; and though many officers ex- 
erted themselves to preserve order, and many men were 
well-conducted, the rapine and violence commenced by vil- 
lains spread; the camp followers soon crowded into the 
place and the disorder continued until the flames following 
the steps of the plunderer put an end to his ferocity by 
destroying the whole town." 

On page 415 of Volume 4, he says : 

"San Sebastian was a heap of smoking ruins and atroci- 
ties degrading to human nature had been perpetrated by 
the troops. A detailed statement of these crimes was pub- 
lished and signed by the municipal and ecclesiastical bodies, 
the consuls and principal persons of San Sebastian who 
solemnly affirmed the truth of each case. . . . The ab- 

386 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

horrent case of the young girl was notorious ; so were many 

Jackson was now famous. 

On February 8th, 1815, Governor John Sevier was a 
member of Congress from Tennessee, and he wrote to his 

"The Orleans mail has arrived with the news of Jack- 
son's success in repulsing the enemy, which has occasioned 
much rejoicing in this place; and we have received as many 
congratulations as though we had been in the action. In 
consequence of the news the city was very brilliantly illu- 
minated last night, and a constant firing nearly all the night 
afterwards. Our army of Tennessee is more talked of here 
than half the world besides. I expect the Wellingtonians 
begin to think somewhat differently of the Americans, and 
find they are to meet some trouble before they conquer 

Governor Blount of Tennesee w T as a life-long friend of 
Jackson, and on January 27, 1815, Jackson wrote him a let- 
ter on the result of the battle. 

general jackson to governor blount. 

"Headquarters, New Orleans, 
January 27th, 1815. 
"Sir: I enclose you a paper that contains my address 
and general orders to the brave army I had the honor to 
command on the 8th instant. In addition I have to state 
that the prisoners taken on the retreat of the enemy state 
their whole loss, including killed, wounded, and missing, 
is estimated at six thousand five hundred, and that Keane 
is dead of his wounds. When the numbers are known that 
were in action on our side, and those badly armed, it will 
not be accredited, and particularly when the loss of the 
enemy is compared with my loss, which in killed, since the 
landing of the enemy, does not exceed fifty-six. The uner- 
ring hand of Providence shielded my men from the showers 
of balls, bombs and rockets; when, on the other hand, it 
appeared that every ball and bomb from our lines was 
charged with the mission of death. The spirit of the Brit- 
ish in this quarter is broken; they have failed in every at- 
tempt. They bombarded Fort St. Phillip for nine days, 
throwing upwards of one thousand large bombs, exclusive 
of small ones, with no other effect than killing two and 
wounding seven ; five of the latter so slightly that they are 
reported for duty. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 387 

"Mr. Shields, purser of the navy, brave and full of 
enterprise, got a few volunteers, and with four small boats 
pursued them as they were embarking, took a transport 
and burned her, several small boats, and one hundred and 
odd prisoners. For the want of force he was compelled to 
parole a number ; bringing with him in all seventy prison- 
ers, including two officers. They have lost all their valuable 
officers and the flower of their army. This argument will 
have greater weight at Ghent than any other, and I view 
it as the harbinger of peace. When you see the bravery of 
your countrymen you must feel proud that you govern such 
a people! They are worthy to be free. General Coffee's 
brigade for the whole time literally lay in a swamp, knee 
deep in mud and water, and the whole of General Carroll's 
line but little better. Still they maintained their position, 
without a murmur. Three thousand stands of arms more 
than I had on the 8th would, in my opinion, have placed the 
whole British army in my hands. But the Lord's will be 
done. Yours, etc., Andrew Jackson. 

"P. S. — I have had but few minutes of ease, and for 
some days bad health, but am better. 

"P. S. — The picket guard state that they lost sight of 
the last sail of the British at half after eleven o'clock A. M. ; 
and Louisiana may again say her soil is not trodden by the 
sacrilegious footsteps of a hostile Briton. They were steer- 
ing for Ship Island. Where destined from thence uncer- 

General Jackson had repulsed the British, but for a 
short space after the battle he had no official information 
that peace had been declared between Great Britain and 
the United States, and, therefore, he continued New Orleans 
under martial law, which created a great deal of discontent 
and excitement among the people. The General ordered 
the arrest of Mr. Louaillier for publishing in the Louisiana 
"Courier" an article which Jackson considered in violation 
of martial law, and Mr. Louallier was placed in confine- 
ment; he employed P. L. Morel as his lawyer who at once 
made application to Judge Dominick A. Hall, District Judge 
of the United States Court, for a writ of habeas corpus as 
follows : 

"Louis Louaillier, an inhabitant of this district, mem- 
ber of the House of Representatives of the State of Louis- 
iana, humbly showeth — 

388 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"That he has been this day illegally arrested by F. Ame- 
limg, an officer in the forty-fourth regiment, who informed 
your petitioner that he did arrest your said petitioner agree- 
able to orders given to him (the said F. Amelung) by his 
excellency Major General Jackson ; and that your said peti- 
tioner is now illegally detained pursuant to said orders. 

"Wherefore your petitioner prays that a writ of habeas 
corpus be issued to bring him before your honor, that he 
may be dealt with according to the Constitution and the laws 
of the United States. 

"P. L. Morel, Attorney for the petitioner." 

This petition was duly sworn to and Judge Hall en- 
dorsed upon it: 

"Let the prayer of the petition be granted, and the 
petitioner be brought before me at eleven o'clock tomorrow. 
"March 6th. Dom A. Hall." 

Thereupon Mr. Morel addressed notice of the granting 
of this writ of habeas corpus to General Jackson : 

"To his excellency Major General Jackson: 
"Sir: I have the honor to inform your excellency that, 
as counsel, I have made application to his honor Dom. A. 
Hall, Judge of the District Court of the United States, for 
a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of Mr. Louaillier, who 
conceived that he was illegally arrested by order of your 
excellency; and that the said writ has been awarded, and 
is returnable tomorrow, 6th instant, at eleven o'clock, A.M. 
"I have the honor to be your excellency's most humble 
and obedient servant, 

"P. L. Morel, Counsellor at Law." 

Upon receipt of this notice General Jackson proceeded 
promptly to enter upon a new kind of combat to that in 
which he had been so recently engaged. He at once ad- 
dressed a communication to Colonel Arbuckle as follows : 

"'New Orleans, March 5th, 1815. 
"Seven o'clock P. M. 
"Headquarters, Seventh Military District: 
"Having received proof that Dominick A. Hall has been 
aiding and abetting and exciting mutiny within my camp, 
you forthwith order a detachment to arrest and confine 
him, and report to me as soon as arrested. You will be vigi- 
lant ; the agents of our enemy are more numerous than was 
expected. You will be guarded against escapes. 

"A. Jackson, Major General Commanding." 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 389 

"Dr. William E. Butler is ordered to accompany the de- 
tachment and point out the man. 

"A. Jackson, Major General Commanding." 

Judge Hall and Mr. Louallier were made prisoners in 
the barracks. On Saturday, March 11, General Jackson 
concluded to give Judge Hall his liberty, but to send him 
out of the city, which was done and a guard of five of 
Jackson's men took the Judge five miles above New Orleans. 

On Monday, March 15th, official information was re- 
ceived at New Orleans from the United States government 
that peace had been declared, and Louaillier was turned 
loose and Judge Hall allowed to return to the city. 

It now became Judge Hall's turn to operate on General 
Jackson, and on March 22 it was ordered by the Judge that 
General Jackson show cause, on the 24th, why he should not 
be attached for contempt of court in disregarding the writ 
of habeas corpus in the matter of Louis Louaillier. The city 
was no longer under martial law, the United States District 
Court had resumed its jurisdiction, and it was necessary 
for General Jackson to defend himself against the charge 
of contempt; and so on March 31, General Jackson appeared 
in Court and was fined one thousand dollars to be paid to 
the United States, which the General promptly paid by a 
check on a New Orleans bank, and so the matter ended at 
the time; but all through Jackson's political career after 
that his difference with Judge Hall was one of the staple 
arguments urged by the opposition to show that he was not 
such a man as should be entrusted with the power of the 
President of the United States. In 1842 Congress refunded 
this fine with interest aggregating twenty-seven hundred 

After the payment of this fine General Jackson remained 
in New Orleans a short time closing up business connected 
with supplies furnished to his army in the city, and then 
left for the Hermitage. 

On arriving at Nashville he was given a banquet on 
May 22d, and the Governor of the State presented the sword 
voted him by the State of Mississippi the year before. 

On January 8, 1908, the Honorable John W. Gaines of 
Nashville, who represented the Nashville- District in Con- 

390 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

gress from March 4, 1897, to March 4, 1909, introduced a 
bill in the House of Representatives making- an appropria- 
tion of five thousand dollars to locate, mark, and protect 
the graves of American soldiers killed in the several battles 
at New Orleans in 1814-1815; and, thereupon, there arose 
in Tennessee an earnest and extended investigation and dis- 
cussion by interested persons through various channels to 
ascertain, especially, the names of the eight who were killed 
in the battle of January 8, 1815. The Quartermaster Gen- 
eral of the United States army by communication of De- 
cember 23, 1907, informed Mr. Gaines that the remains of 
soldiers who fell at the battle of New Orleans and others 
of the Civil War were buried at Chalmette National Ceme- 
tery, located on the New Orleans battlefield, about three 
miles east of the city. 

In the investigation and discussion referred to there 
developed a difference of opinion whether six or eight men 
were killed on January 8, but the probabilities are that there 
were eight, and while their names cannot be given with a 
certainty that is beyond question, it may be said that seven 
of the eight were Tennesseans as follows : 

James Kirkpatrick, of Sumner County; 

David Harper, of Sumner County; 

James Henry Smith, of Maury County; 

James Moore, of Maury County; 

John Thompson, of Bedford County; 

William Smith, of Davidson County ; 

Clement Hancock. 

The investigation did not develop the name of the 
eighth man with certainty, and there were several different 
suggestions as to who he was. 

Mr. Gaines' bill did not become a law, but its introduc- 
tion had the merit of causing to be rescued from oblivion 
and placed upon their country's roll of honor and fame, the 
names of at least seven of those who are entitled to be re- 
membered always. 

Mr. Gaines did some valuable work while a member of 
Congress in defending the fame of Andrew Jackson by cor- 
recting unfounded statements and accusations on the floor 
of the House, whether emanating from sectional prejudice 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 391 

or ignorance, and on each 8th day of January for a number 
of years — the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans — he 
was accustomed to address the House on some phase of the 
life, character or career of Andrew Jackson; and on the 
8th day of January, 1907, he spoke on the Battle of New 
Orleans, as reported in the Congressional Record : 


"Mr. Chairman : Ninety-two years ago to-day Andrew 
Jackson and his raw troops defeated, at New Orleans, and 
drove the English army finally, I hope, from the jurisdiction 
of the United States. It is a coincidence that we are to-day 
engaged in the consideration of a bill 'making appropria- 
tion for the support of the Army for the fiscal year ending 
June 30, 1908.' 

''It is not my purpose now, Mr. Chairman, to speak of 
the patriotic deeds of Andrew Jackson, nor to elaborate the 
history of the great battle of New Orleans, but I have some 
pertinent and timely matter that I wish to read to the 
House. My main purpose to-day is to call the attention of 
this House to the fact that this is the ninety-second anni- 
versary of that great event, and that the American Con- 
gress in 1815 passed a resolution of thanks to General Jack- 
son and his troops, and ordered a gold medal to be given 
him at the public expense. 

"I will ask the clerk to read that resolution. 

"The Clerk read as follows : 

" 'Resolutions expressive of the thanks of Congress to 
Major General Jackson and the troops under his command 
for their gallantry and good conduct in the defense of New 

" 'Resolved, etc., That the thanks of Congress be, and 
they are hereby, given to Major-General Jackson, and, 
through him, to the officers and Soldiers of the Regular 
Army, of the militia, and of the volunteers under his com- 
mand, the greater proportion of which troops consisted of 
militia and volunteers suddenly collected together, for their 
uniform gallantry and good conduct conspicuously displayed 
against the enemy from the time of his landing before New 
Orleans until his final expulsion therefrom, and particularly 
for the valor, skill, and good conduct on the 8th of January 
last in repulsing, with great slaughter, a numerous British 
army, of chosen veteran troops, when attempting, by a bold 
and daring attack, to carry by storm the works hastily 
thrown up for the protection of New Orleans, and thereby 

392 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

obtaining a most signal victory over the enemy, with a dis- 
parity of loss on his part, unexampled in military annals. 

" 'Resolved, That the President of the United States be 
requested to cause to be struck a gold medal, with devices 
emblematical of this splendid achievement, and presented 
to Major-General Jackson as a testimony of the high sense 
entertained by Congress of his judicious and distinguished 
conduct on that memorable occasion. 

" 'Resolved, That the President of the United States be 
requested to cause the foregoing resolutions to be communi- 
cated to Major-General Jackson in such terms as he may 
deem best calculated to give effect to the objects thereof. 

" 'Approved February 27, 1815. (30th Cong., 3d sess., 
resolution 10.)' 

"Mr. Gaines of Tennessee. Mr. Chairman, on January 
21, 1815, General Jackson had 'read at the head of each of 
the corps composing the line below New Orleans' an address, 
and amongst other things he spoke of this marvelous victory 
which prompted the Congress to unanimously pass this res- 
olution of thanks. General Jackson, in this address to his 
troops, in part said: 

" 'On the 8th of January the final effort was made. At 
the dawn of day the batteries opened and the columns ad- 
vanced. Knowing that the volunteers from Tennessee and 
the militia from Kentucky were stationed on your left, it 
was there they directed their chief attack. 

" 'Reasoning always from false principles, they expected 
little opposition from men whose officers were not even in 
uniform, who were ignorant of the rules of dress, and who 
had never been caned into discipline. (Italics his.) 

"'Fatal mistake! A fire incessantly kept up, directed 
with a calmness and unerring aim, strewed the field with 
the bravest officers and men of the column which slowly 
advanced according to the most approved rules of European 
tactics, and was cut down by the untutored courage of 
American militia. 

" 'Unable to sustain this galling and unerring fire, some 
hundreds nearest the intrenchments called for quarter; the 
rest, retreating, were rallied at some distance, but only to 
make them a surer mark for the grape and canister shot of 
our artillery, which, without exaggeration, mowed down 
whole ranks at every discharge, and at length they precipi- 
tately retreated from the field. 

' 'Our right had only a short contest to sustain with a 
few rash men, who, fatally for themselves, forced their en- 
trance into the unfinished redoubt on the river. 

; 'They were quickly dispossessed, and this glorious day 
terminated with a loss to the enemy of their commander 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 393 

in chief and one major-general killed, another major-gen- 
eral wounded, and the most experienced and bravest of 
their officers and more than 3,000 men killed, wounded and 
missing, while our ranks, my friends, were thinned only 
by the loss of 7 of our brave companions killed and 6 dis- 
abled by wounds — wonderful interposition of heaven! Un- 
exampled event in the history of tear. 

" 'Let us be grateful to the God of battles, who has di- 
rected the arrows of indignation against our invaders, 
while he covered with his protecting shield the brave de- 
fenders of their country. 

" 'After the unsuccessful and disastrous attempt, their 
spirits were broken, their force was destroyed, and their 
whole attention was employed in providing the means of 
escape. This they have effected, leaving their heavy artil- 
lery in our power, and many of their wounded to our clem- 
ency. The consequences of this short, but decisive, cam- 
paign are incalculably important. The pride of our arro- 
gant enemy humbled, his forces broken, his leaders killed, 
his insolent hopes of our disunion frustrated, his expecta- 
tion of rioting in our spoils and wasting our country changed 
into ignominious defeat, shameful flight, and a reluctant 
acknowledgment of the humanity and kindness of those 
whom he had doomed to all the horrors and humiliation of 
a conquered state.' 

"I have before me, Mr. Chairman, the speeches deliv- 
ered in the House in February, 1815, touching upon this 
resolution and upon this wonderful military feat of our 
forces. Mr. Troop of Georgia, reported the resolution. He 

" 'That he congratulated the House on the return of 
peace; if the peace be honorable, he might be permitted to 
congratulate the House on the glorious termination of the 
war. He might be permitted to congratulate them on the 
glorious termination of the most glorious war ever waged 
by any people. To the glory of it General Jackson and his 
gallant army had contributed not a little. I cannot, sir, per- 
haps language cannot, do justice to the merits of General 
Jackson and the troops under his command, or to the sensi- 
bility of the House, I will therefore forbear to trouble the 
House with the usual prefatory remarks; it is a fit subject 
for the genius of Homer. 

" 'But there was a spectacle connected with this subject 
upon which the human mind would delight to dwell — upon 
which the human mind could not fail to dwell with peculiar 
pride and exultation. It was the yeomen of the country 
marching to the defense of the city of Orleans, leaving their 
wives and children and firesides at a moment's warning. 

394 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

On the one side, committing themselves to the bosom of 
the mother of rivers ; on the other, taking the route of the 
trackless and savage wilderness for hundreds of miles. 
Meeting at the place of rendezvous ; seeking, attacking, and 
beating the enemy in a pitched battle ; repulsing three des- 
perate assaults with great loss to him; killing, wounding, 
and capturing more than 4,000 of his force, and finally com- 
pelling him to fly precipitately the country he had boldly 
invaded. The farmers of the country triumphantly victo- 
rious over the conquerors of the conquerors of Europe. 'I 
came, I saiv, I conquered,' says the American husbandman, 
fresh from his ploiv. 

" The proud veteran who triumphed in Spain and car- 
ried terror into the warlike population of France Was hum- 
bled beneath the power of my arm. The God of Battles and 
of Righteousness took part with the defenders of their coun- 
try, and the foe was scattered before us as chaff before the 
wind. It is, indeed, a fit subject for the genius of Homer, 
of Ossian, or Milton. 

" 'That militia should be beaten by militia is of natural 
and ordinary occurrence; that regular troops should be 
beaten by militia is not without example; the examples are 
as numerous, or more numerous, in our own country than 
in any other; but that regular troops, the best disciplined 
and most veteran of Europe, should be beaten by undisci- 
plined militia, with the disproportion of loss of a hundred to 
one, is, to use the language of the commanding general, 
almost incredible. The disparity of the loss, the equality of 
force, the difference in the character of the force, all com- 
bine to render the battle of the 8th of January at once the 
most brilliant and extraordinary of modern times. Nothing 
can account for it but the rare merits of the commanding 
general and the rare patriotism and military ardor of the 
troops under his command. 

" 'Glorious, sir, as are these events to the American 
arms, honorable as they are to the American character, they 
are not more glorious and honorable than are the immedi- 
ate consequences full of usefulness to the country. If the 
war had continued the men of the country would have been 
inspired with a noble ardor and a generous emulation in 
defense of the country; they would have struck terror into 
the invader, and given confidence to the invaded. Europe 
has seen that to be formidable on the ocean we need but 
will it. Europe will see that to be invincible on land it is 
only necessary that we judiciously employ the means which 
God and nature have bountifully placed at our disposal. 
The men of Europe, bred in camps, trained to war, with all 
the science and all the experience of modern war, are not a 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 395 

match for the men of America taken from the closet, the 
bar, the court-house, and the ploiv. If, sir, it be pardonable 
at any time to indulge the sentiments and feelings, it may 
be deemed pardonable on the present occasion.' 

"Mr. Robertson, a Member of Congress from Louisiana 
— and I dare say an ancestor of the present Member from 
Louisiana of the same name, the Hon. Sam Robertson — 
said : 

" 'Mr. Speaker, representing alone on this floor an inter- 
esting part of our country, saved by heroism unmatched 
from horrors which cannot be described, I shall be excused 
for expressing my admiration of General Jackson, his great 
achievements, and the splendid battles which we now com- 

"He then spoke of the fidelity of the Louisiana French 
to Jackson in this crisis. Many of them that came under 
the command of General Jackson were French or of French 
descent, and it was expected that they would not faithfully 
fight. Yet they not only did that, but this same Congress 
passed a resolution of thanks specially to the people of 
Louisiana for the great assistance they gave General Jack- 
son on this occasion. 

"Mr. Robertson then continues in describing Jackson's 
army and his rough breastworks : 

" 'Hasty levies of half-armed, undisciplined militia from 
the interior of our vast continent, from the banks of the 
Tennessee, the Cumberland, and the Ohio, traversing ivide 
and trackless regions, precipitate themselves to the scene of 
conflict, resolute to defend their distant brethren from the 
dangers with which they are menaced. There the hardy 
sons of the West, with the yeomanry of the adjacent terri- 
tory and the invaded State, with a handful of regulars and 
a few armed vessels, constituted that force from which the 
tremendous armament of our enemy was to experience the 
most signal overthrow the world has ever witnessed. But 
Jackson was their leader, and though inexpert in scientific 
warfare, they were animated by something more valuable 
than discipline, more irresistible than all the energy which 
mere machinery can display; they were animated by patri- 
otism, by that holy enthusiasm which surmounts all diffi- 
culties and points the way to triumph. Happy if a parallel 
to their conduct may be found. It must be looked for in the 
achievements of those who, like themselves, fought for the 
liberties of their country. History records, to the consola- 
tion of freemen, that the Poles, unarmed and ignorant of 
tactics, beat the veteran troops of Frederick and Catherine 
in many pitched battles, never less than three times their 
numbers, but their leader was Kosciusko. In the early 

396 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

stages of the Revolution the peasantry of France, under 
Custine and Du Mourier, repulsed from their soil the disci- 
plined thousands of the Duke of Brunswick; but it was not 
the Poles nor the Frenchman; it tvas love of country. It 
was the cause.' 

"He speaks of the 8th of January in these words : 

" 'On the 8th of January, a day destined to form an era 
in history, this army of invincibles, led on by gallant chiefs, 
advanced to the charge with firm step, according to meth- 
ods most approved — trenches hastily thrown up, defended 
by what they considered a mob, a vagabond militia, prom- 
ised an enterprise destitute alike of hazard and of honor. 
They were met by an incessant and murderous sheet of fire ; 
intrepidity stood appalled, their generals slain, the ditch 
filled, the field strewed with the dying and the dead; a 
miserable remnant of their thousands fled back to their 
intrenchments. The battle closed, a battle whose character, 
from the nature of the troops engaged and the disparity 
of loss, is the most wonderful, whose effects are as impor- 
tant as any that was ever fought. And now we are invited 
to the contemplation of a scene which reflects immortal 
honor on the inhabitants of New Orleans and, by contrast, 
eternal shame on the enemy. 

" 'The dead were interred, the agonies of the dying were 
assuaged, the wounded relieved; that ■property ivhich ivas 
to have been given up to plunder was willingly yielded to 
their tvants, and the very individuals, the marked victims 
of their licentiousness, vied with each other in extending 
to them every proof of tenderness and humanity.' 

"Mr. Speaker, I am reminded in reading that paragraph 
of one of the things that made the troops under Jackson 
fight so. The enemy said victory meant 'booty and beauty' 
to them. It meant not only plunder, but invasion of all 
that is sacred to you — wife and daughters — and yet so hu- 
mane were the soldiers of Jackson — the Tennesseans, the 
Kentuckians, and the Mississippians — who fought that bat- 
tle, and the people of New Orleans, that they cared for the 
wounded and they buried the dead, and Jackson secured 
before the battle ended a suspension of the fight in one 
place to attend to this humane duty. Mr. Chairman, just a 
few steps more in this great debate about this resolution 
and then I am done. 

"The Chairman. The time of the gentleman has ex- 

"Mr. Clark of Missouri. Mr. Chairman, I ask unani- 
mous consent that the gentleman's time be extended ten 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 397 

"The Chairman. The Chairman would state to the 
gentleman that the time is controlled by the gentleman from 
Iowa and the gentleman from Virginia. 

"Mr. Hay. I yield the gentleman ten minutes. 

"Mr. Gaines of Tennessee. Mr. Ingersoll, from the 
great State of Pennsylvania on this occasion said: 

" 'Mr. Speaker, I regret that these resolutions require 
any amendment. I am persuaded, however, that their final 
passage will be unanimous. The House will excuse me, I 
hope, if I indulge myself in a few observations on this occa- 
sion. I speak impromptu, sir, without premeditation — I 
have found it impossible to think — I have been able only to 
feel these last three days. The unexpected, the grateful ter- 
mination of the glorious struggle we have just concluded, 
is calculated to excite emotions such as can be understood 
by those only who can feel them. 

" 'For the first time during this long, arduous, and try- 
ing session we can all feel alike — we are all of one mind — 
all hearts leap to the embraces of each other. Such a spec- 
tacle as that now exhibited by the Senate and House of Rep- 
resentatives of the United States of America was never pre- 
sented to the world before. 

" 'While the Senate are ratifying a treaty of peace, the 
House of Representatives are voting heartfelt thanks to 
those noble patriots, those gallant citizen-soldiers Who have 
crowned that peace with imperishable luster. The terms of 
the treaty are yet unkown to us. But the victory at New 
Orleans has rendered them glorious and honorable, be they 
what they may. They must be honorable under such a ter- 
mination of the war. 

" 'Those commissioners who have afforded us such sig- 
nal credentials of their firmness heretofore, can not possibly 
have swerved. The Government has not betrayed its trust. 
The nation now can not be discredited. It has done its 
duty and is above disgrace. 

" 'Within five and thirty years of our national existence 
we have achieved a second ackonivledgment of our national 

" 'In the war of the Revolution we had allies in arms, re- 
inforcements from abroad on our own soil, and the wishes 
of all Europe on our side. 

" 'But in this late conflict we stood single-handed. Not 
an auxiliary to support us, not a bosom in Europe that 
dared beat on our behalf, not one but what was constrained 
to stifle its hopes, if it entertained any in our favor. The 
treaty signed at Paris on the 30th of last May placed us in 
a situation of the utmost emergency.' 

398 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"Mr. Chairman, peace had been agreed to before the 
battle of New Orleans had been fought, but Jackson did not 
know it, nor did the English generals ; otherwise this battle 
would not have been fought. 

"Mr. Chairman, I must be brief. I love to read after 
those old statesmen — the old patriots. It is well for us to 
quit reading a whole lot of modern trash and 'go away back 
up the creek,' and read the words of patriots who were un- 
bought and unpurchasable, who would not sell their inde- 
pendence, their own thoughts, their own belief, their influ- 
ence, or their power of speech for pelf or power (Applause.) 
Hence I have read these resolutions and from those old 
speeches of 1815, which you seem to enjoy. 

"The victory of Jackson and his troops, to use a short 
expression, 'set up' this country, and, as one of these speak- 
ers said, made it a 'sovereign' in the eyes of the world. 
This, Jackson's victory, has compelled the world to respect 
American arms — the Stars and Stripes — as no other one 
military act has done. 

"Blefore this, I should have said, there was only one 
known soldier who deserted from Jackson's army. He went 
over and told the English where he thought the weak places 
in Jackson's forces were, and I find in a little red-backed 
book somebody sent me today, entitled 'An Official and Full 
Detail of the Battle of New Orleans,' by Maj. B. M. Davis, 
a footnote that states that as a fact, as follows : 

" 'This man was the only deserter from Jackson's army. 
He told Sir Edward where the weakest parts of the Ameri- 
can lines were, having nothing but Tennessee and Kentucky 
militia to defend it. The principal column attacked that 
point. After the defeat they railed at the deserter and hung 

"No one can blame the English for that hanging. It is 
rather remarkable enough were left alive to make a good 
job of it. 

"I read now, Mr. Chairman, from a fellow-citizen from 
the city of Nashville, Col. iVrthur S. Colyar, who has re- 
cently written a book entitled 'The Life and Times of An- 
drew Jackson.' This splendid old man — statesman, lawyer, 
patriot, and author — son of a King's Mountain hero, still 
survives and will be out to-night, I dare say, at the Her- 
mitage Club, Nashville, where the Ladies' Hermitage Asso- 
ciation, which takes care of the 'Hermitage,' where Jackson 
lived and died, will celebrate the victory of New Orleans, 
as they do annually. 

"Indeed, he will not only be out tonight, but I dare say 
he will be out tomorrow, for he is still an active practitioner 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 399 

at the Nashville bar, though about 84 years of age. Here 
is what he says about this marvelous victory of Jackson : 

" 'The battle of the 8th of January is a mystery. It is 
difficult to believe the w ell-established facts.' 

"That is what Jackson himself said when he reported 
only six killed on the 8th of January. 

"Colonel Colyar continues : 

" 'Historians have been slow to admit the facts as they 
are. In these chapters I am undertaking to account for 
this marvelous triumph by untrained militia over one of the 
best armies England ever sent into the field, and I trust my 
readers will not be impatient to have me reach that memo- 
rable day in our history, because to know and be satisfied 
about the result of the 8th and the complete triumph of 
General Jackson, contending with more than double his 
number, and how it was done, the whole facts must be given, 
though it may seem tedious. No writer that I have found 
has satisfactorily accounted for this marvelous chapter in 
war. Jackson, by a generalship that has no counterpart, 
whipped this great battle before he got to it. If I take what 
may seem to be more time than is necessary in reaching the 
final struggle, let it be remembered that nothing like it is 
recorded in history. 

" 'Two thousand dead British and less than a dozen men 
lost on the American side is the wonder in war's record, the 
loss from the time of landing being more than 3,000.' 

"Colonel Colyar then quotes at length from Jackson and 
New Orleans, by Walker, who graphically describes Jack- 
son's troops between December 28, 1814, and the 1st of 
January, 1815, when the two armies were confronting each 
other on a level plain, as follows : 

" 'These wily frontiersmen, habituated to the Indian 
mode of warfare, never missed a chance of picking up a 
straggler or sentinel. Clad in their dusky, brown home- 
spun, they would glide unperceived through the woods and, 
taking a cool view of the enemy's lines, would cover the first 
Briton who came within range of their long, small-bored 
rifles. Nor did they waste their ammunition. Whenever 
they drew a bead on any object it was certain to fall. The 
cool indifference with which they would perform the most 
daring acts would be amazing.' 

"Mr. Chairman, those men fought with flintlock guns, 
with shotguns, and with squirrel rifles, such as they could 
hurriedly gather together in Tennessee and Kentucky and 
Mississippi, and accomplished this wonderful victory over 
the pride of British troops. 

"How much, Mr. Chairman, since then the burden has 

400 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

increased upon the American people! We have been bene- 
fited by the fruits of that great victory as individuals and 
as a nation. We have millions and millions of money with 
which to buy and make the greatest, strongest, and most 
dangerous guns and men of w T ar. How much greater now, 
in time of peace, is the responsibility on us to avoid war. 
Our ability is greater now to do so than ever before. Let 
us be actually at peace with all the world ; speed the day 
by our example and by our teachings to at least a gradual 
removal of the causes of war — thus bar all its evils at a 
near clay. Let us aid other countries that have been strug- 
gling so long at the mouth of the cannon and in front of the 
bloody bayonet for the same glorious principles and priv- 
ileges which Jackson and his troops on the 8th day of Jan- 
uary fought for, and that w r e, their children, are enjoying 
here today, but which we can aid others to get without blood- 
shed. (Applause.)" 

Major John Reid. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 401 



Major John Reid who was aide and military secretary 
to General Jackson through the Indian wars and at the bat- 
tle of New Orleans and until his death January 18, 1816, 
was born in Bedford County, Virginia, in 1784, and re- 
ceived a classical education. He read law, and moved to 
Tennessee, then a sparsely settled wilderness, in 1807, and 
located in Rutherford County. Two years later, in 1809, 
he married and moved to Franklin, in Williamson County, 
and entered the practice of law. The war began and steps 
were taken to prepare for General Jackson's expedition to 
Natchez, Mississippi ; upon the recommendation of Colonel 
Thomas H. Benton who lived in Franklin, and who was 
serving on General Jackson's staff, young Reid was ap- 
pointed aide and military secretary, and his appointment 
signed by General Jackson, was in the handwriting (of 
Colonel Benton. He was ensign of 1st Infantry April 21, 
1806; 2nd Lieutenant December 9, 1807; resigned January 
31, 1809; Captain of 44th Infantry July 15, 1814: trans- 
ferred to 1st Infantry May 17, 1815; 1st Major Decem- 
ber 23, 1814 for gallant conduct at New Orleans; died 
January 18, 1816. On December 14, 1813, he wrote to his 
mother in Virginia in reference to his proposed military 


"Well, what do you think of my going to the wars. Gen- 
eral Jackson has lately been ordered from here with fifteen 
hundred men to New Orleans, and has appointed me an 
aide. He will join the army under General Wilkinson which 
I think will move against West Florida. The men are all 
ready and we expect to leave Nashville on Christmas Day. 
I beg you will not suffer yourself to be made uneasy on 
account of my going. The detachment will hardly be kept 
South during the summer season and I will probably re- 
turn in the spring; that is, if I go, which depends upon my 
ability to arrange my affairs in time, and the state of my 

402 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

health, not yet fully restored. The appointment is the only 
one I would have accepted as it is the only one (as my 
duties will principally be those of military secretary to the 
General) that I feel competent to discharge creditably. 
Betsy (his wife) is as busy as a bee and is not crying." 

On January 15, 1814, Major Reid again writes to his 
mother from Franklin : 

"You will doubtless be surprised to find this letter dated 
as above, as you had probably begun to look for one from 
New Orleans or Pensacola. General Jackson embarked at 
Nashville on the 10th inst. with fourteen or fifteen hun- 
dred infantry. The cavalry which goes by land and amounts 
to six or seven hundred left this place a few days ago, the 
whole force making about two thousand men, or five hun- 
dred more than the President called for. I had expected 
to join the General near the mouth of the Cumberland 
where he would remain a while to take in supplies ; but 
having experienced a slight relapse of my late illness, I 
was advised that it would be entirely too hazardous for 
me to venture upon the river in so severe a season. When 
I see such a number of the 'choice spirits of the country' 
(as Burr calls them), going, I am ashamed to stay behind; 
perhaps Providence designs better for me than I can now 
see or understand." 

He notified General Jackson of his inability to go, to 
which Jackson replied : 


"I regret exceedingly the indisposition that prevents 
you from accompanying me. I anticipated much benefit 
from your aid. This has been severe weather upon the 
health of us all, and an exposure before yours is reinstated 
might be fatal, and your talents not only now lost to me, 
but forever to your country. The risk of this to gratify my 
wishes would be more than I could ask. I was fearful from 
your appearance when you left me that you would not 
be able to proceed with me on the present campaign. Be 
careful of your health. We have just commenced a war 
that will call into requisition our best talents. Save your 
constitution and health; you may yet be a valuable shield 
to your country's defense. I will, with the assistance of 
Major Hayne, endeavor to get along until I can find some 
one for your place ; if I cannot find one whose abilities and 
disposition satisfy me, I shall make no appointment." 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 403 

The expedition left Nashville January 7, 1813, and pro- 
ceeded to Natchez, and was there ordered by the War De- 
partment to be disbanded, which General Jackson refused 
to do, as shown in the chapter on the Natchez expedition, 
and marched his soldiers in a body back to Nashville, where 
he disbanded them. 

On August 2, 1814, Major Reid wrote his mother an- 
other letter. 


"It is believed that we shall soon have war with the 
Creeks. The Governor has been directed to have a large 
force in readiness to march at a moment's notice, and 
General Jackson has issued his orders accordingly. He 
will in case of hostilities be united with a similar force 
from Georgia and from the Mississippi Territory, in the 
aggregate about seven thousand men, and will be able to 
strike a blow that will not soon be forgotten or recovered 

Under date of September 12, 1814, he writes: 

"The expedition against the Creek Nation so much 
talked of has not yet been ordered out. General Jackson 
the other day got his arm shot to pieces in an affray with 
Colonel Benton. It was a desperate affair, half a dozen per- 
sons being engaged in it, but fortunately no one was killed. 
I left the General yesterday. He appeared in good spir- 
its and thinks he will soon recover. He is resolved at all 
hazards to lead the troops against the Creeks if ordered 
out. I fear his condition is more critical than he supposes 
it to be." 

The massacre at Fort Minis occurred on August 30, 
1814, but it was not known in Nashville until September 
18, and that information, of course, started a frenzied ac- 
tivity to raise an army and send to the Creek Nation. Un- 
der date of October 4, 1814, Major Reid writes his father: 


"The whole State is under arms. Nothing is now seen 
but the movement of troops, nor heard but the beating 
of drums. The infatuated Creeks who have committed so 
many unpunished depredations upon the defenseless fron- 
tiers have, by an unparalleled atrocity, at length thorough- 
ly aroused the government. They recently attacked the Fort 

404 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

in the Mobile River containing four or five hundred per- 
sons, men, women and children, and put them to indiscrim- 
inate slaughter, scarcely one escaping. Five thousand troops 
are marching from the State under General Jackson. They 
will unite somewhere in the Creek Nation with three thou- 
sand from Georgia. I have been at the General's headquar- 
ters in Nashville until a few days ago, when I came home 
to complete my preparations to join him on the march. 
I start tomorrow. I go with him in the capacity of an 

The Major's letters from this date on through the bat- 
tle of New Orleans afford valuable light upon the conduct 
of the war. He wrote various letters to his wife, the first 
of which was dated October 24, 1814, at Camp Deposit. 


"We shall leave the encampment to-day for Ten Isl- 
ands on the Coosa, distant about sixty miles. From thence 
if we are not stopped by the enemy or stavation (I dread 
the latter much more than the former), we shall move 
with all practicable dispatch to the confluence of the Coosa 
and the Tallapoosa. The hostile Creeks are fully appraised 
of our coming, and yet show no signs of falling back. We 
expect a battle with them in a few days. The General de- 
clares that he will not retreat nor survive a defeat. There- 
fore, look soon either for very good or very bad news. All 
I fear is famine. Our expected supplies have not arrived 
and we have only two days' rations. The country cannot 
support us. * * * We are cutting our way over moun- 
tains almost as difficult as the Alps, but difficulties only 
seem to stimulate the General." 

On November 4, 1814, from Ten Islands, he wrote his 

"At last we have had a battle with the Creeks. A de- 
tachment under the command of General Coffee attacked 
them at Talluschatchie where they were concentrated in 
force, yesterday morning. They made a desperate resist- 
ance, but were utterly routed. One hundred and eighty-six 
were found dead on the ground ; two hundred were doubt- 
less slain. We lost five killed and forty wounded. I rode 
over the field of battle, the first I ever beheld ; it is impos- 
sible to conceive so horrid a spectacle." 

On November 11, 1814, from Fort Strother, he again 
wrote his wife: 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 405 

"We have had a general engagement and obtained a 
decisive victory. It took place on the morning of the 9th. 
The enemy attacked us about daylight with great fury. 
By nine o'clock all was over. Had it not have been for a 
blunder of the militia, in retreating, when they were or- 
dered to advance, the Creeks might have been destroyed 
to a man. Two hundred and ninety of them were left dead 
that we counted, and many others were no doubt killed and 
were not found. As far as we followed their retreat, the 
route was traced with their blood. We lost fifteen killed, 
eighty-four wounded, two of whom have since died. I will 
write your father more particularly when I get an oppor- 
tunity ; but it is now within an hour of day, and I have not 
slept a wink in the course of the night, having been kept 
up writing for the General. * * * ■ We have been a week 
without corn for our horses, and two days without food 
for ourselves, except a little that some of us were prudent 
enough to reserve." 

The battle of Talladega is the one referred to in this 

On November 21, 1814, Major Reid wrote from Hunts- 
ville, Alabama, to Major Abram Maury, his father-in-law, 
at Franklin: 


"I arrived here this morning to see the contractors, 
and shall set out on my return before day. The General 
came with me as far as the river; tomorrow we shall 
leave there together on our return to Fort Strother. 

"For ten days we have been tarnishing our laurels; 
scarcity and starvation produced mutiny and rebellion. Gen- 
eral Jackson never effected anything so great as when he 
counteracted it. It became necessary, however, to send back 
the greater part of the troops to Camp Deposit, and that 
he, himself, should hasten here to see that effectual meas- 
ures are taken for future supplies. You have no concep- 
tion of our privations, and of the ungovernable spirit of 
the men made desperate by want. Eveiy one despaired 
but the General, and I believe he experienced, without ex- 
pressing it, for the first time in his life, the humiliating 
sense of despondency. But if the spirit with which a man 
meets and overcomes difficulties is the true test of great- 
ness, he is the greatest man living. I had intended to have 
written you circumstantially of the late battle and of all 
of our affairs, but whatever time I apply to my own pur- 
poses I must filch. Last night I slept not one hour, hav- 

406 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

ing to write to the Governor, the Secretary at War, the 
contractors, and about forty orders." 

It was under the distressing conditions brought about 
by want of supplies that caused a part of the troops to 
break away from control, and to start to march on their 
way home, when General Jackson placed himself with a 
gun in the road, and declared that he would kill the first 
man who advanced another step. Parton, in the first vol- 
ume of his Life of Jackson, tells this incident as follows : 

"He (Jackson) seized a musket and rode a few paces 
in advance of the troops; his left arm was still in a sling. 
Leaning his musket on his horse's neck, he swore that he 
would shoot the first man that attempted to proceed. Mean- 
while, General Coffee and Major Reid, suspecting that 
something extraordinary was occurring, ran up and found 
their General in this attitude, with the column of mutineers 
standing in sullen silence before him; not a man dared 
stir a foot forward. Placing themselves by his side they 
awaited the result with intense anxiety. Gradually a few 
of the troops who were still faithful were collected behind 
the General, armed, and resolved to use their arms in his 
support. For some minutes the column of mutineers stood 
firm to their purpose, and it only needed one man bold 
enough to advance to bring on a bloody scene. They. wa- 
vered, however, at length abandoned their purpose and 
agreed to return to their duty. It afterwards appeared that 
the musket which figured so effectually in this scene was 
too much out of order to be discharged." 

General Jackson entered upon what he called an "ex- 
cursion" into the Creek country, and it brought on two bat- 
tles, one at Emuckfau, January 22, 1814, and the other at 
Enotocopco, January 24, 1814. Major Reid gives an ac- 
count of the latter battle in a letter to his father: 


"We were marching in regular order in three columns 
as usual, prepared to form to battle in a moment, should 
we be attacked either in front, flanks, or rear. We had reach- 
ed the creek Enotacopco, and the advance guard had passed 
over, together with the three columns of men armed, and 
the wounded. The General and myself rode leisurely down 
to the water's edge. He remarked to me, 'Now, if they at- 
tack us they can have no advantage.' We rode slowly into 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 407 

the creek and had just reached the opposite side when fir- 
ing began. The General heard it with the utmost com- 
posure. He turned to me with a look as though what he 
wished most was about to happen, and directed me to hurry 
to the wounded who were a short distance in advance, and 
have a line formed to protect them ; and to turn the left 
column back upon the enemy, whilst he proceeded to the 
right wing for a similar purpose. Thus engaged, what was 
the General's astonishment to behold the rear guard on 
the other side of the creek precipitately give way, occupy- 
ing all of its passes, and bringing consternation with them. 
It was a dreadful moment, the enemy rapidly approach- 
ing, following us with their cries and pouring forth a de- 
structive fire, and increased the confusion. But upon this 
bank and just across, was a small and select band of young 
men, whom nothing but dishonor should terrify ; T mean 
the artillery company known as the General's life-guard. 
Their piece was at the water's edge when the firing com- 
menced. They immediately hauled it to a slight eminence 
and formed about it with their muskets. There for a few 
moments they stood the whole brunt of the battle. The 
General, in the meantime, was everywhere, and by his ex- 
ample and words of encouragement, finally restored some- 
thing like order. A large force was sent across the creek, 
and such fighting as then ensued has rarely been seen. Our 
men would not take trees or attempt to conceal themselves. 
They ran right on, and wanted only the sight of the enemy, 
then fired upon him, or charged him with the bayonet; in 
less than half an hour the Indians gave way and fled in 
every direction. Our loss in the two actions was twenty- 
four killed and seventy-six wounded. The enemy left one 
hundred eighty-nine on the field." 

The battle of Enotocopco was followed by the Battle 
of the Horseshoe where the power of the Creek nation was 
crushed beyond reviving, and Major Reid, at the invita- 
tion of General Jackson, accompanied the General to Nash- 
ville, and in a letter to his mother says he had never seen 
anything so splendid as the General's reception at Nash- 
ville; that the citizens seemed anxious to compensate him 
by the profusion of one day for all he had done and suf- 
fered for eight long months ; that it gave him great pleasure 
to see the wrinkles in the General's face, so deeply fur- 
rowed by exposure and affliction, at length curl into an 
expression of complacency and self-enjoyment; that every- 

408 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

body was anxious to see him at the head of the Northern 

Major Reid's next movement was to become a candidate 
for Congress to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of 
the Honorable Felix Grundy, and he asked General Jack- 
son for permission to await the result of the Congressional 
election, to which the General replied granting the permis- 
sion, and giving some valuable history connected with his 
command at Fort Bowyer. 


"I with pleasure indulge your request. That you may 
be elected is my prayer, although it will be with regret that 
I part with you, for it is thought that w r e are to have a 
pretty hot time here. We have lately measured our strength 
with the British and gave them a severe mauling. On the 
12th inst. (September) their vessels hove in sight for Mo- 
bile Point where Fort Bowyer stands. On the 13th they 
landed troops on the Point in the rear of the Fort; on the 
14th sounded the channels, when the land force attempted 
with the artillery to batter down the Fort from the rear, 
but a few shots silenced them. At four p. m. on the 15th 
they approached with two ships and two brigs, anchored 
abreast of the fort and opened all of their guns upon it. 
Ours replied and at seven o'clock the foremost ship was si- 
lenced, and the second so much crippled that, w r ith the two 
brigs, she drew off. All the guns of the fort then played 
upon the abandoned ship. She was set on fire and blown 
up. It was the Hermes, 24 to 28, 32 pound carronades. 
She lost all of her crew but twenty. She was commanded 
by Sir William H. Percy, son of the Duke of Northumber- 
land. You see how we treat the sons of Lords here. The 
other ship was the Charon, which lost eighty-five men. The 
brig Sophia w r as much shattered, but her loss is not known. 
The name of the other brig is not recollected by the de- 
serters. Lieutenant-Colonel Nichols commanded the land 
forces, but was taken back and went on board the Charon, 
where he lost an eye by a splinter. We shall have no more 
proclamations for a while from him or the Right Honor- 
able Sir William Henry Percy, son of the Duke of North- 
umberland. Had I only one thousand men here now I would 
put an end to that hotbed of war, Pensacola." 

Major Reid was defeated for Congress. He entered the 
race only upon the strong importunities of friends, and not 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 409 

through any voluntary wish of his own to become a mem- 
ber of Congress. 

On August 24, 1814, General Jackson wrote Major Reid 
from Mobile, dating his letter "eleven o'clock at night." 


"At five o'clock this evening through a confidential chan- 
nel, I received information of the arrival and disembarka- 
tion of two or three hundred British troops at Pensacola, 
with large quantities of arms and ammunition and ord- 
nance stores; that the Orpheus with fourteen sail of the 
line, large transports and ten thousand men were to reach 
there this day ; that large transports with twenty-five thou- 
sand of Lord Wellington's troops had arrived at Bermuda, 
and that the Emperor of Russia had offered England fifty 
thousand troops to aid her in Spain and conquer and subdue 
America ; and that in one month Mobile and all the Southern 
country was to be in possession of the British. They do not 
think of the number of bloody noses there will be before this 
happens. But without immediate aid our feeble forces must 
bend before one so overwhelming ; I have called into service 
the full quota authorized by the Secretary of War. I hope 
the Tennesseans will do honor to themselves. I have order- 
ed that every Indian in my district be enrolled as a soldier 
and put under pay; this will alone deter them from joining 
the enemy. I had intended to forward short patriotic ad- 
dresses but have not time and must request you to have it 
done in my name; we must act with energy and effect or 
rest assured that our liberties will go down as suddenly 
as the Empire of Napoleon. I am very anxious about your 

Major Reid started November 22d on the journey to 
join General Jackson, and learning that the General had 
gone to New Orleans, he turned his course toward that 
city as fast as he could travel, and after reaching there 
wrote to his wife under date of December 20, 1914: 


"I arrived here yesterday worn completely down by ex- 
posures and privations. I will not attempt to describe my 
experiences on the way. It rained incessantly almost from 
the moment of leaving home, swelling the smallest water- 
courses into rivers, and rendering the roads a perfect quag- 
mire. One of my horses was founded in the Choctaw Na- 

410 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

tion and I was compelled to leave him behind. Another, the 
black, was one morning found dead in the stable. I was 
then one hundred and fifty miles from Natchez without any 
means of procuring another; I was forced to use the pack 
animal and contrived by slow marches to reach Lake Pont- 
chartrain, taking the road, or, rather, the path down Pearl 
River, to save distance. 

"On my arrival at the Lake, I heard that the British 
who were near the Rigolets, which opens into it, had, after 
a desperate fight, destroyed or taken our gunboats stationed 
near Cat and Ship Islands. No time was to be lost, and 
leaving everything behind except my portmanteau, I jumped 
into an open boat with Captain Morrell of the Navy who 
was also hastening to Orleans. It was near night when 
we set out and we expected to reach port in six hours, but, 
unfortunately, the compass which we counted upon obtain- 
ing from the brig then stationed upon the Lake, we failed 
to procure, and we were compelled to continue our trip by 
the aid of a few stars which faintly glimmered through 
the clouds. The wind now suddenly arose, the sky became 
wholly overcast, and we were left helpless in the dark. 
After tossing about until after midnight, we cast anchor 
and waited for morning. Day came and with it an in- 
crease in the wind which blew with great violence in our 
faces, and drove us twenty miles westward of our destina- 
tion. In a word, our situation became so perilous that even 
Captain Morell was alarmed. For two whole days and 
nights we were at the mercy of a terrible gale in an open 
boat, exposed to intense cold and freezing rain, without 
a single blanket to cover us, or anything to eat or drink. On 
the third day, the Captain, finding no prospect of a change 
of wind, decided to run in upon the shore in the hope that 
when we struck we might possibly effect our escape. While 
attempting this, the wind unexpectedly changed ; sails were 
set, and we finally reached port, half frozen and nearly 
starved, but thankful to Providence for bringing us through 
such extreme dangers. I had rather encounter the risks 
of a battle than repeat such a voyage. Poor Jack! (his 
servant). There was never so complete a picture of hor- 
ror and despair as his countenance furnished. I write in 
a hurry not yet having properly settled in quarters. It is 
the coldest weather almost ever known here. I have no 
fire and my fingers are benumbed. 

"P. S. There never was such a state of enthusiasm 
as the ardour of the General has inspired in this city. It 
is under martial law and every man capable of bearing 
arms is in the ranks." 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 4 1 1 

On December 23d, 1814, he wrote again to his wife: 

"As mentioned in the conclusion of my last letter, the 
city is transformed into a camp, martial law having been 
established by the General's order. Everybody is under 
arms. This state of things is justified by the urgency of 
the moment. The capture of the gunboats on Lake Borgne 
was looked upon as a certain prelude to an attack upon the 
city. I am astonished at the resistance made when I con- 
sider the disparity of forces. There were one hundred and 
six of the enemy's boats, lashed two and two together, with 
a platform for their cannon above, attacking one little 
flotilla from every quarter ; it was an exciting scene as de- 
scribed by gentlemen of respectability who were in tree 
tops on the shore. They reported our ships, and particu- 
larly that in which Captain Jones was, as frequently for 
several minutes involved in a blaze of fire. 

"Notwithstanding the proximity of the enemy and the 
exertions made to obtain correct information, we remain 
wonderfully ignorant of his strength, movements, and prob- 
able intentions. An hundred rumors are afloat. At one 
time, the approach is by the Lake, at another, by the River, 
and again by land. The General seeks to be prepared for 
it at every point. Lord Hill is said to be in command of 
the enemy's forces. 

"The notorious Lafitte came in yesterday. He talks with 
great apparent frankness and, I believe, with truth of the 
enemy's projects. He tells the General to keep an eye fixed 
on the lower plantations. 

"The ardour with which all orders of men here are now 
animated, offers a striking contrast with the apathy which 
prevailed before the General's arrival, and is a splendid 
illustration of what one man is capable of effecting. The 
spirit which he has been enabled to impart is looked upon 
by all as a certain pledge of that resistance which will be 
made when the city is attacked." 

On the 30th of December, 1814, he wrote again : 

"I am glad that I am alive. On the 23d, a little while 
after I closed my last letter, news arrived that the enemy 
in considerable force had landed from the Lakes seven 
miles below the city. The moment the General heard of 
it he began to make preparations for attacking him in his 
first position. About five o'clock p. m. he got off with about 
fifteen hundred troops, reaching the vicinity of the enemy 
at seven o'clock p. m. He immediately made his disposi- 
tions for battle. Commodore Patterson, who had fallen 
down the river in the Schooner Caroline, afforded such co- 

412 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

operation as the situation might admit, opened fire on their 
camp. At the same time General Coffee attacked them on 
their right, while General Jackson who had advanced up 
the levee, assailed them in their strongest position near 
the river. The contest was maintained for nearly two hours 
and with the utmost fury on both sides. It was difficult to 
see anything but the flashing of the guns, while the din 
was dreadful. At length a deep fog arose, made denser 
by the smoke from the field, and it became nearly impos- 
sible to distinguish friend from foe. The General thought 
it prudent to withdraw the troops. We lay for the night 
near the battle ground, and the next morning fell back to 
a strong position two miles nearer the city, and proceed- 
ed immediately to entrench. We have been in full sight 
of each other ever since. An attack was made day before 
yesterday to drive us from our position, which is an old 
ditch running for nearly a mile between the river and a 
cypress swamp, behind which we have thrown up an earth- 
en embankment; but it signally failed. They are now mak- 
ing preparations for another attack. They can easily be 
seen erecting platforms for their heavy guns. We are under 
arms day and night while skirminshing goes on contin- 

Major Reid's description as an eye-witness of the bat- 
tle of January 8, 1815, will prove interesting, and a letter 
in which he gives the description is dated "Camp, four miles 
below New Orleans, January 9" and is addressed to his 


"I snatch a few moments from the little time which is 
allowed me for sleep to inform you that the long looked 
for attack by the enemy has at length been made, and re- 
pelled in a manner glorious to the American name. At 
reveille yesterday, I say yesterday because it is now past 
midnight, the enemy having completed his preparations, 
advanced upon us in two heavy columns on our right and 
left, under cover of bombs and Congreve rockets, to carry 
our works by storm. In a moment our men were at their 
posts, and displayed there all the firmness and delibera- 
tion to have been expected from veterans inured to war. 
For an hour the most tremendous fire of small arms was 
kept up, I am sure, that was ever witnessed on the Ameri- 
can continent; twice the enemy were repulsed from our 
first entrenchments, and twice returned to the assault. At 
length, cut to pieces, they were forced to retire from the 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 413 

field, leaving it covered with the dead and the dying. Their 
loss cannot be estimated at less than 1,200 or 1,500, in- 
cluding prisoners, of whom we have about 300. Ours was 
inconsiderable, being less than ten killed and about the 
same number wounded. 

"But while I mention the glorious result I must also 
inform you of an unfortunate occurrence which at the same 
time took place on the other side of the river, and has, I 
fear, defeated all the effects of our success on this side, 
and injured the safety of New Orleans. The enemy had, 
with infinite labor, succeeded on the night of the 7th in 
carrying their boats across the land from the Lake to the 
river. The General, to provide against the consequences 
of such a movement, established several batteries on the. 
other side of the river, and stationed General Morgan there 
with the Louisiana militia to which he afterwards added 
four hundred Kentuckians. The enemy simultaneously with 
their advance upon our lines, threw over in their boats 
a considerable force to the other side of the river. Thev 
immediately advanced upon the works there, and in the 
very moment in which they might have been repulsed, and 
the whole expedition defeated, the Kentuckians inglorious- 
ly fled, drawing after them the other forces, and leaving 
that fortunate position in the hands of the enemy. As soon 
as day dawns, I expect them to open their batteries upon 
us from that side of the river, against which we have no 
protection, and drive us from our present lines, or slaughter 
us within them. The cowardice of a single corps may thus 
have defeated the wisest plans and the highest display of 
valor in all the rest. At no moment was our situation ever 
so critical. God can only foresee the result. * * * I 
believe that Lieutenant-General Pakenham, who was the 
commander in chief, is killed, though if it is so, it is endeav- 
ored to be kept a secret. There are strong reasons for be- 
lieving it true." 

On January 20, 1815, he again wrote to his wife: 

"I have good news to tell you. The enemy after six 
and twenty days of fighting have at length grown weary 
and retired to their boats. They decamped very quietly 
night before last, leaving eighty of their wounded, includ- 
ing two officers, in their field hospitals, fourteen pieces of 
cannon, and a large quantity of ammunition. Whether they 
intend to make a dash at some other point or abandon the 
expedition altogether we do not know." 

The battle of New Orleans was finished for all time; 
the city was saved, the enemy was gone, and Major Reid 

414 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

could start for home, which he did, and from Natchez, Miss- 
issippi, on April 20, 1815, he wrote to his mother: 


"We are thus far on our way home. We left New Or- 
leans on the 6th amid the lamentations and benedictions 
of men, women and children. It is impossible for you to 
imagine the gratitude and kindness which all classes and 
ages show to the General. He is everywhere held as the 
savior of the country. All the way up the coast he has been 
feted and caressed. He is regarded as a prodigy and the 
women and children and old men line the road and gaze 
at him as they would at an elephant, or some other strange 
animal. This sort of attention makes him feel very awk- 
wardly. He pulls off his hat and bows graciously, but as 
though his spirit was humbled and abashed. He arrived 
this morning and is now at church, whither I have been 
prevented accompanying him by a great deal of business 
which must be transacted before we leave this place. Of 
all persons living who are not professed Christians, he cer- 
tainly feels most like one, if I may judge from the man- 
ner in which he often expresses himself to me in his re- 
tired and private moments. Nothing seems to shock his 
feelings more, nothing will he bear with less patience, than 
the least word uttered in disrespect of the Christian re- 

"We shall probably reach home by the tenth of next 
month, and perhaps in a short time afterwards, set out 
for Washington City. If we do, we will pass through Vir- 
ginia and make you a visit. I am satisfied you will be 
pleased with the plain and frank manner of this really 
great man, but you may probably like him most on account 
of his kindness to me. Hasty in his temper, he certainly 
has the best and most glorious heart in the world. 

"Tonight the town will be illuminated, and tomorrow 
there is a dinner, and in the evening a ball to be given Mr. 
Jackson. This we may expect in almost every little town 
through which he passes. They are ceremonies he would 
gladly dispense with, if it could be done without seeming 
to slight the kind intentions and grateful feelings of the 

After reaching home General Jackson and his party 
were unable to start on the trip to Washington until the 
first week in October, and reached the residence of Major 
Reid's father near Lynchburg, Virginia, November 8th. 
Mrs. Jackson and Mrs. Reid and the children were in the 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 415 

party, and remained at Major Reid's father's, while the 
General and the Major went on to Washington, where they 
arrived on the 17th. 


As early as this date in the career of General Jack- 
son, the writing of his life w T as under consideration by 
him and his friends, and it finally came about that Jackson 
authorized Major Reid to undertake the preparation of his 
biography, and the Major entered upon the task. Encour- 
agement for the undertaking was received from every quar- 
ter, as was to have been expected. General Jackson was 
now a national hero, and it was in the order of things that 
the American people should want to know everything there 
was to learn about the man who had repelled the English 
at New Orleans. The proposed Life by Major Reid was 
to be an octavo volume of four hundred pages, illustrated, 
and sold at five dollars a copy. Before any part of the book 
was written, thirty thousand dollars was offered for the 
copyright, and General Jackson gave the enterprise his en- 
dorsement in these words: 


"Major Reid having made known to me his intention 
of publishing a history of the late campaign in the South, 
I think it very proper that the public should be made ac- 
quainted with the opportunities he has had of acquiring 
•full and correct information on the subject which he pur- 
poses to write. He accompanied me as Aide-de-Camp dur- 
ing the Creek War and continued with me in that capacity 
after my appointment in the United States Army. He had 
and now has charge of my public papers and has ever pos- 
sessed my unlimited confidence. The opportunities he has 
enjoyed, improved by the talents he possesses, will, I doubt 
not, enable him to satisfy the expectations of his friends." 

In the matter of having a history of his life written in 
his life time. General Jackson was to go down to his grave, 
after repeated efforts, a disappointed man. Reid was the 
first to enter upon the undertaking with his consent. Years 
later Amos Kendall, who had been Postmaster General in 
his administration as President, was given possession of 

416 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

his official papers, documents and personal letters, with 
which to write the life, and Kendall failed, and these pa- 
pers were then turned over to General Frank P. Blair, 
who also failed, although both were warm personal friends 
and political supporters of General Jackson in the days of 
his power; and after General Blair's death his sons ob- 
tained possession of the papers, and, without right or au- 
thority to do so, gave them to the Congressional Library 
of the United States. 

The visit of General Jackson and Major Reid to Wash- 
ington was an exceedingly pleasant one, and they were 
both treated, of course, with the most distinguished consid- 
eration. They returned to Virginia on December 15, 1815, 
to the home of Major Reid's father, and after staying there 
a few days, the General and his family started homeward, 
and reached the Hermitage in early February, 1816. Major 
Reid remained behind to start his work, and had completed 
the first four chapters when he suddenly sickened and died 
on January 18, 1816, in his thirty-second year. General 
Jackson wrote him twice on his way to the Hermitage, 
and in the first of his letters, dated January 2d, he used 
this language: "Although with my family, I have to-day 
felt lost. I have felt that my bosom friend is absent from 
me." In the second letter, dated January 15, 1816, he used 
this language: "You will please recollect that I left the 
mare, Fanny, for your use and your property. I intend, if 
an opportunity offers to send you two draft horses as soon 
as I reach home. * * * I need not say to you that my 
anxiety for the success of your book is great. There are 
many weighty reasons that create this anxiety. * * * 
Should you find any difficulty in getting it printed on your 
own account, write me, and I will procure the means." 

Major Reid's Life of Jackson, left uncompleted, was 
finished by John H. Eaton, one time United States Senator 
from Tennessee, Secretary of War, and Minister to Spain. 
The first edition appeared in 1818. The modern reader 
and historian does not accredit the book with either great 
authority or strength by reason of its lack of detail; it is 
hardly too much to say that except for its purporting to 
be a Life of Jackson, written in part by his aide and mil- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 417 

itary secretary and finished by a member of his cabinet, 
the book is too general to be accepted as a real biography. 
Major Reid's father wrote General Jackson of the Ma- 
jor's death, and in a letter written from the Hermitage 
and dated February 8, 1816, Jackson made this reply: 


"Your letter of the 24th ultimo containing the unwel- 
come information of the sudden and unexpected death of 
my dear and much esteemed friend, Major John Reid, 
reached me yesterday. I came home on the first day of 
this month; on the second, received a number of letters 
that had reached Nashville. The first I opened was from 
Major Reid, of date the 10th January, among other things 
advising me of his and his family's good health. The next 
I opened was one from the postmaster at New London of 
date the 21st of January stating that on the day preced- 
ing he had accompanied the remains of my friend to his 
grave. The shock that this produced is more easily judged 
of than explained, having just before finished the read- 
ing of his letter of the 10th. It is wrong to murmur at 
the decrees of Heaven. The Lord's will be done. But such 
the frailty of human nature that it will repine at the un- 
timely loss of dear and valuable friends, and it is difficult 
to prevent exclaiming, Why were they not spared a lit- 
tle longer? I can well figure to myself the distress of his 
wife, parents and brethren. He was their darling. They, 
like myself, knew his value as a husband, as a son, as a 
brother, and as a man. We mourn for the dead, but must 
endeavor to comfort and cheer the living. 

"On receipt of the melancholy intelligence I lost not 
a moment in writing to Major A. Maury, his father-in- 
law. I have no doubt, if his health will permit, that he 
will immediately go to his daughter. The interest of his 
dear little family must be attended to, and the book must 
be finished for their benefit. If none of his friends or ac- 
quaintances in Virginia will undertake to complete the 
work, I will get some persons whose talents and integrity 
can be relied on. 

"It is all-important to me that all papers of a public 
nature and all others pertaining to my offices, be care- 
fully preserved. Whoever finishes the work must have free 
access to the originals, or copies must be made out and 
furnished them. The original papers must be sent to me, 
well bound up, the expense of which I will pay. In the 
event of none of his friends or acquaintances in Virginia 

418 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

undertaking to complete the work, please send on all the 
papers, books and manuscripts contained in the trunk, and 
Major Maury and myself will endeavor to have the book 
finished by some competent person, and will see that the 
proceeds are applied to the benefit of his family. 

"I will depend upon your care of the papers until a 
safe opportunity offers for their conveyance to me. If Mrs. 
Reid returns to this country, let the trunk with the papers 
be sent on with her. The filly I left was a present from 
me to Major Reid as a small token of my esteem. If Major 
Maury goes on, horses, etc., will be forwarded. Please 
write me at once and give me information whether any 
of Major Reid's friends will undertake finishing the book. 
Young Mr. Steptoe, I am told, is a young man of good edu- 
cation, and competent to the task. Give me a statement 
of the progress of the work. Any labor or information in 
my power shall be freely bestowed to have the work com- 

"Make a tender of Mrs. Jackson's and my best wishes 
to your father, mother, and family, and Mrs. J. Reid, and 
the dear little children. Say to them we sincerely regret 
and feel the loss they have sustained in Major Reid. Our 
exertions will not be wanting to render his family any serv- 
ice in our power. Accept assurance of our friendship and 

"Andrew Jackson. 

"Mr. Nathan Reid, Jr." 

Mrs. Jackson also sent a very kind letter to Mrs. Sophia 
Reid, whose name she spelled "Reade." The author has 
corrected the spelling, capitalization and punctuation, but 
in all other respects the letter is reproduced just as Mrs. 
Jackson wrote it. 


"Tennessee State, April 27, 1816. 
"My dear Madam : — I received your friendly and af- 
fectionate letter of March 25. I never wished for any- 
thing more sincerely than to hear from you at the time 
your letter came to hand. You will scarcely believe when 
I declare to you that I was as much distressed the day I 
left your house as if you had all been my nearest relations. 
Oh my! will you pardon me for not writing you? I fully 
intended it the next day, and nothing prevented it but my 
writing so bad a hand. Mrs. E. Reid did not call on me as 
she passed above some distance, say twenty miles. How 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 419 

sincerely I have sympathized in your sorrows. It has not 
been in the power of an absent friend to soothe or relieve 
one sorrowful hour, or rest assured it would have been 
done. There is none exempt from trouble and the Great 
Dispenser of all who holds the destiny of nations in His 
hands, sees and knows what is best for us. Let us, my 
friend, resign to His will. Your son was an honor to 
his friends and country, a bright gem plucked from among 
them, but alas, he is gone the ways of all earth. I cannot 
describe my feelings on the day I left your house. Dear 
Maria ! Often did I see her in my imagination, so strong- 
ly was it impressed on my mind to say something to her 
in that most solemn hour, but she was in the hands of her 
God, who is altogether mercy and goodness. . I have writ- 
ten to Mrs. Reid at her father's but have received no an- 
swer as yet. General Jackson has been from home since 
sometime in February, through the Mobile, and all that 
section of the 7th District. He was three weeks in New 
Orleans. I frequently have letters he will return to Ten- 
nessee in May — he says to me his health is something bet- 
ter than usual. Alas, my dear madam, have you heard of 
this dreadful epidemic that has swept away nearly one- 
third of our citizens? So many instances of men and their 
wives going together, six and seven out of some families. 
Nothing would give me more pleasure on earth than to 
see you all once more except to see Mr. Jackson. Remem- 
ber me to Mrs. Harris and all of her family, Captain Reid 
and your family, and accept for yourself my prayers that 
happiness may visit your abode once more, a gleam of joy 
sent on your evening hours is my wish. 

"Rachel Jackson. 
"To Mrs. Sophia Reid." 

That Major John Reid has never received the historical 
recognition due him in connection with the career of An- 
drew Jackson, is the conclusion that every student of 
Jackson's life must inevitably reach ; and this is the con- 
clusion, also, of at least some of his direct descendants. In 
a letter to the author of December 13, 1917, Mrs. Nina Reid 
Hunter, of Nashville, a great-granddaughter of Major Reid, 
with a pride fully justified by the life, character and career 
of her great-grandfather, says of him : 

"That he was a remarkable man everything that I know 
of him indicates. Major Langhorne says: 'It was but re- 
cently the writer heard General 0. 0. Clay refer to hav- 
ing met at Mr. Steptoe's three of the most remarkable men 

420 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

he had ever seen: Mr. Jefferson, General Jackson, and his 
aide, Major Reid.' So it is a great happiness to me to send 
you what I have pertaining to him; it is very little, but 
I would it had been more. If my father had never lent 
Colonel Terrall his papers, I feel confident that he would 
now have some adequate place in General Jackson's his- 

That the publication in permanent form of Major Reid's 
papers, lent to W. G. Terrell by Judge Frank T. Reid, 
father of Mrs. Hunter, would have given Major Reid "an 
adequate place" in General Jackson's history, as Mrs. Hunt- 
er suggests, does not admit of controversy; and nothing is 
more conclusive of this than the permanent place in Jack- 
son's history held by Major W. B. Lewis, through his good 
fortune in having his letters and writings to and about 
Jackson, published by Parton in his Life of Jackson. Major 
Lewis will live in history just as long as Jackson lives — 
their lives, for historians, are inseparable — and Major Lew- 
is's descendants owe eternal thanks to James Parton, who 
in the preparation of his book, came to Nashville where 
Major Lewis lived, in search of original documents, let- 
ters, newspapers, and first-hand information of every kind. 
Parton was a newspaper man, with a keen and accurate 
appreciation of historical values, and possessed wonder- 
ful skill in making men and women live, move, breathe 
and talk on the pages of his history. He lost no time in 
getting in touch with Major Lewis and procuring from 
him in written form, and thoroughly considered, after ex- 
haustive investigation of the endless stores of historical 
data in his possession and his personal memory of scenes 
he had lived through, far-reaching national events he had 
helped to plan and bring to pass, great men he had met 
and intimately knew, statements that Parton wanted and 
incorporated in his Life of Jackson. Major Lewis gave to 
history that which no other man in America could have 
given, and he knew that in writing for Parton, he was 
writing for posterity. The great, scrupulous and accurate 
care he took in depicting the time and events that he had 
lived through, shows that he appreciated what he was doing, 
both for Andrew Jackson's ultimate historical standing, as 
well as his own. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 42 1 

Major Lewis did not move across the pages of Jackson's 
history with any great consequence until after Jackson 
became President of the United States. As stated in an- 
other part of this book, Lewis did all that any other one 
man did, and possibly more, to make Jackson President, but 
his great influence was exerted afterwards, and his for- 
tune has been that as Jackson's confidential friend, letter- 
writer and officer, he wrote letters and received letters that 
posterity delights to read, and he was careful to preserve 
them ; so that when Mr. Parton asked his help, he w T as amply 
prepared to give help that was invaluable for Parton's 

Major Reid, on the other hand, was in contact with 
Jackson and took part in his life and career only during 
the Indian wars, the battle of New Orleans and a short 
time afterwards. He died young, when it is clear that he 
had not developed to their limit, the intellectual and moral 
powers that were in him. Everything that he wrote indi- 
cates great strength and great reserve forces. Jackson 
never had an abler Secretary. He did not have as wide a 
field in which to exercise his ability as Major Lewis, but 
Reid made no mistakes, and the author's purpose in pub- 
lishing in this chapter his letters, is to give the people 
of Tennessee an opportunity to estimate the man, and there- 
by give him "some adequate place in Jackson's history," 
that his granddaughter, Mrs. Hunter, correctly thinks he 
is entitled to. 

The letters here published are only a part of Major 
Reid's papers turned over to W: G. Terrell by Judge Frank 
T. Reid, but they are enough to indicate what the people 
of Tennessee have heretofore been ignorant of — the calibre 
and capacity of Major John Reid. 

422 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 



General Jackson arrived in Nashville from New Orleans 
May 15, 1915, in bad health, and the supposition would nat- 
urally be that he w r ould devote much time to building up 
his constitution, but such was not to be the case. In Octo- 
ber he started on horseback by way of Southwest Point, 
Knoxville and Lynchburg, to Washington. In Lynchburg 
a banquet was tendered him at which Thomas Jefferson, 
then seventy-two years old, was a guest. Jefferson offered 
a toast, which, by implication, applied to Jackson, and was 
highly honorable to the hero of New Orleans: "Honor 
and gratitude to those who have filled the measure of their 
country's honor." On November 17 he arrived in Wash- 
ington, and then began banquets, festivities, speeches and 
hero-worship, which were to be his delightful portion the 
rest of his life. The people seemed to spontaneously agree 
that the victory at New Orleans had made him the national 
American hero. In Washington it was agreed at a con- 
ference between the President, General Jacob Brown and 
General Jackson, that the army should be reduced to ten 
thousand men, and that General Brown should command 
the northern division, and General Jackson the southern, 
and, hence, Jackson was to retain his position in the army. 

He did not start home until 1816, and from there went 
to New Orleans, where he was received in enthusiastic, 
grand fashion, and he got back to the Hermitage the fol- 
lowing October. 

Down to this time the Caucus had governed the nom- 
inations for President, and it was to govern the nomina- 
tion of the successor of President Madison whose term ex- 
pired on March 4th, 1817, but this nomination was the be- 
ginning of the end of the reign of the Caucus. While not 
very loud at first, nor very widespread, nor very unani- 
mous, suggestions were made at one time and another, and 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 423 

in one place and another, and the thought was in the minds 
of men who probably did not express it, that the victor of 
New Orleans was good presidential timber, and that it would 
not be a bad idea to land him in the White House. 

Just what Jackson thought of his being President, 
even as late as 1821, is very strikingly disclosed in a letter 
of Judge Brackenridge, Jackson's secretary in Florida, 
quoted by James Parton in the second volume of his Life 
of Jackson, where Brackenridge uses this language : 

"I shall never forget the evening in Pensacola, 1821, 
when, in the presence of Mr. Henry Wilson and some other 
gentlemen, he took up a New York newspaper in which 
he was mentioned as a probable candidate for the office of 
President of the United States. After reading it, he threw 
it down in anger: 'Do you think,' he said, 'that I am such 
a d — d fool as to think myself fit for President of the United 
States? No sir,' I know what I am fit for. I can command 
a body of men in a rough way ; but I am not fit for Presi- 
dent.' " 

New work was being prepared in Florida by the Sem- 
inoles, fugitive Creeks, free negroes, and escaped slaves, 
and General Jackson was to enter upon one of the most 
vexatious portions of his life. Florida was in his division 
as Major General of the army, and it was his duty to con- 
duct all military operations in that section; he undertook 
to suppress all disorder, outrages and uprisings in Florida, 
and in doing so approved the execution of Alexander Ar- 
buthnot and Robert C. Ambrister. It is not necessary to go 
into details connected with the Arbuthnot and Ambrister 
cases, but merely to state that he appointed a court of four- 
teen officers of which Major General E. P. Gaines of Ten- 
nessee was President; Arbuthnot was tried April 28, 1818, 
on the charges of inciting the Creek Indians to war against 
the United States, acting as a spy for the British govern- 
ment, and inciting the Indians to murder. The Court found 
the prisoner guilty and sentenced him to be hung, and this 
sentence was affirmed by General Jackson. Ambrister was 
next tried, found guilty, and sentenced by the Court to 
be shot; and on April 29, 1818, the Commanding General 
approved the sentences in both cases, and they were carried 
out. Promptly this action by General Jackson became a 

424 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

political issue, and the storm arose promptly and furiously, 
and never until the day of his death did the charge cease 
that the two men had been illegally executed by order of 
General Jackson. On January 12, 1819, one of the great- 
est debates ever held in the House of Representatives of 
Congress was carried on for twenty-seven days in Com- 
mittee of the Whole, in discussion of Jackson's action. Res- 
olutions were offered condemning the execution of Arbuth- 
not and Ambrister, and some great speeches were made, 
but Jackson triumphed, and by a substantial majority. 
Four resolutions were before the Committee as follows: 

Resolution to disapprove the execution of Arbuthnot 
and Ambrister: ayes, 54; noes, 90. 

Resolution for a law prohibiting the execution of cap- 
tives by a commanding General: ayes, 57; noes, 98. 

Resolution that the seizure of Pensacola was contrary 
to the Constitution : ayes, 65 ; noes, 91. 

Resolution that a law be passed forbidding the invasion 
of foreign territory without authority from Congress : ayes, 
42; noes, 112. 

In the Senate these same matters were referred to a 
Committee of which Senator Lacock of Pennsylvania was 
Chairman, and this Committee made an extended investi- 
gation and reported on February 24, 1819, adversely to 
Jackson. The session expired nine days later and the re- 
port was never considered by the Senate. 

General Jackson prepared a document called his "Memo- 
rial," defending himself against the adverse report of Sen- 
ator Lacock's Committee, and going into details in refer- 
ence to himself and his connection with Florida affairs. But 
further action was not to be taken, for on February 22, 
1819, the treaty was signed by which Spain conveyed Flor- 
ida to the United States. 

Just before the end of that session of Congress on 
March 4, an act was passed providing a government for 
Florida and vesting all military, civil and judicial power 
in such person or persons as the President of the United 
States might appoint, and to be exercised in such manner 
as the President might direct. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 425 

President Monroe appointed Jackson Governor of Flor- 
ida, pursuant to this act, at a salary of five thousand dol- 
lars per annum, and at the same time appointed two judges, 
two district attorneys, two secretaries, three collectors, and 
a marshal. General Jackson set out for Florida by way of 
New Orleans and finally, after vexatious delay, arrived there 
on July 17, 1821. Florida was formally transferred to the 
United States by the Spanish Governor, the Spanish flag 
was lowered, the American flag raised in its place, and 
Andrew Jackson once again held a civil office, and entered 
upon his duties as Governor of the newly acquired Terri- 
tory of Florida. It is hardly necessary to say that Gen- 
eral Jackson never regarded himself as a success in civil 
office, and he resigned practically every one he ever held 
before the expiration of the term. ' He was disappointed 
as Governor because the President had appointed so many 
officers who were to serve under him, and he had no oppor- 
tunity to reward by official appointment some of his old, 
true, and lifelong friends; and so it came about, as was 
to have been expected, that he resigned as Governor in 
October 1821, and was back at the Hermitage on the 3d of 

After his return his friends began the serious agitation 
of his candidacy for President as the successor of Monroe, 
and he was brought before the people by some of the ablest 
and most adroit politicians of that day, among them Major 
William B. Lewis, who was Jackson's friend and neigh- 
bor, and who did as much if not more to make him Presi- 
dent, than any other one man in America. On July 20, 
1822, the Tennessee Legislature nominated him for Presi- 
dent; in October, 1823, the Legislature elected him to the 
United States Senate; March 4, 1824, he was nominated for 
President by a Pennsylvania State Convention; and at the 
November election, 1824, received a plurality of the electoral 
votes for President. It was in this Presidential race that 
the Caucus received its death wound; there were six can- 
didates for President. William H. Crawford of Georgia, 
and Albert Gallatin of Pennsylvania, were nominated by 
the Caucus respectively for President and Vice President. 
When the election came on Crawford received the electoral 

426 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee; History 

votes of Georgia, Virginia, five votes from New York, one 
from Maryland, and two from Delaware, a total of forty- 
one; Henry Clay received the electoral vote of Kentucky, 
fourteen ; Missouri three, Ohio sixteen, New York four, a 
total of thirty-seven. John Quincy Adams received the elec- 
toral vote of Maine nine, New Hampshire eight, Vermont 
seven, Massachusetts fifteen, Connecticut eight, Rhode Isl- 
and four, New York twenty-six, Delaware one, Maryland 
three, Louisiana two, Illinois one, a total of eighty-four. 
Andrew Jackson received the electoral vote of New York 
one, New Jersey eight, Pennsylvania twenty-eight, Mary- 
land seven, North Carolina fifteen, South Carolina eleven, 
Tennessee eleven, Louisiana three, Mississippi three, Ala- 
bama five, Indiana five, Illinois two, a total of ninety-nine; 
so Jackson received the highest electoral vote and the high- 
est popular vote. The election was thrown into the House 
of Representatives where the vote is taken by States, and 
in this election Henry Clay's influence was thrown to John 
Quincy Adams, thereby electing him, and giving rise to the 
charge of "bargain, intrigue and corruption" by Jackson. 
In the House of Representatives the vote stood for Adams 
thirteen States, Crawford four States, Jackson seven States, 
which elected Adams. Mr. Adams appointed Henry Clay 
Secretary of State, and this was the basis of the charge 
of bargaining, intrigue and corruption between Adams and 

A few days after the inauguration of John Quincy 
Adams, and the appointment and confirmation of his cabinet, 
General Jackson and his family started for the Hermitage, 
and in October 1825, Jackson resigned from the Senate, and 
in the same month of the same year, the Legislature of 
Tennessee again nominated him for President in the elec- 
tion of November 1828. Hugh Lawson White was elected 
to serve his unexpired term as Senator by the Legislature. 
Between that time and the Presidential election of 1828 
General Jackson was a private citizen — that is, as private 
as one of his wide fame could be. The movement of the 
Legislature to make him President at the next election be- 
gan to spread, and attained momentum and force that final- 
ly became irresistible and swept everything before it. In 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 427 

that election the respective tickets were Jackson and Cal- 
houn against Adams and Rush, and personalities consti- 
tuted the chief weapon of the contest, not sparing even 
Mrs. Jackson herself. 

It was in this election that the statement published in 
another chapter of this book was made public by Judge 
John Overton in reference to the marriage of General and 
Mrs. Jackson; but with all the denunciation, abuse, and vil- 
lification that was hurled at him, Jackson received 178 elec- 
toral votes, and Adams 83; for Vice President Calhoun re- 
ceived 171 votes out of 261 ; in Tennessee Jackson and Cal- 
houn received every vote cast except something less than 
three thousand. 

The hero of New Orleans was now at the loftiest sum- 
mit of the ambition of an American citizen, and had at- 
tained a position which enabled him to make his wife Mis- 
tress of the White House, a place aspired to by every Amer- 
ican woman. 

Of course Mrs. Jackson knew that her marriage to the 
General was an issue in the election, and that she had been 
denounced by the opposition newspapers all over the Union, 
and who can blame the poor woman for expressing the 
opinion which she gave: 

"Well, for Mr. Jackson's sake, I am glad; for my own 
part I never wished it." 

Of course, the people of Nashville determined to have 
a grand banquet and celebration in honor of the unparalleled 
triumph of Tennessee's great hero, and General Jackson 
accepted the invitation to be present. On December 17th 
Mrs. Jackson had an attack of illness, but on the 22d she 
was improved and the General thought he could attend the 
banquet in Nashville the next day, but that night, when 
it was thought that her improvement was real, and that 
the General could take a little rest, and hope began to re- 
vive in the household, she uttered a loud cry and all at 
once thought that the end had come, and so it proved. The 
woman who had been the issue in an American Presiden- 
tial campaign, and for thirty-seven years had been the faith- 
ful, devoted wife of a great man, whom the voters had just 

428 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

decreed should be their Chief Executive for four years, 
gave up the ghost, and was dead. The Hermitage in the 
twinkling of an eye was changed into a house of mourning, 
and the great banquet arranged for the next day in Nash- 
ville was never held. 

General Jackson left the Hermitage for his inaugura- 
tion January 17, 1829, and was accompanied by Andrew 
Jackson Donelson, his nephew, who was to be his Private 
Secretary; by Mrs. Andrew Jackson Donelson, who was to 
preside at the White House ; by Henry Lee who had helped 
in the campaign, and who expected an appointment; and 
by Major Lewis, his friend. 

They left Nashville Sunday afternoon by steamboat to 
go down the Cumberland and up the Ohio River to Pitts« 
burg, and thence to Washington. On March 4th, General 
Jackson took the oath of office, administered by the Chief 
Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States; drove 
thence to the White House to begin the duties of Chief Ex- 
ecutive, which were to continue until March 4, 1837. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 429 



No history of Andrew Jackson would be complete, wheth- 
er as elaborate as Parton's, with its two thousand pages, 
or compressed into one volume like this, that did not con- 
tain some statement of the lives and careers of John Over- 
ton, John Coffee and William B. Lewis, who were Jack- 
son's lifelong devoted friends and confidential advisers, 
and of Col. A. S. Colyar, who published Jackson's biography 
in 1904. The friendship of the first three was so extraor- 
dinary, loyal and unbroken, that it can be safely said there 
are few parallels in American history, while Col. Colyar's 
biography makes a very strong plea of greatness for Jack- 


John Overton was born in Louisa County, Virginia, April 
9, 1766, and Jackson was born in 1767. Overton acquired 
a good education, probably considerably self-taught. It ap- 
pears that he taught school for a period, and with the pro- 
ceeds of his teaching bought books, which would argue that 
his family were not people of very much means. He, him- 
self, was too young to enter the Revolutionary War, but 
he had two older brothers who w r ere soldiers under "Light- 
horse Harry Lee." 

Overton moved to Kentucky where an older brother was 
then living, and he entered the practice of law, but the date 
of his going to Kentucky we do not know. Land titles at 
that early day were the chief staple of litigation, and young 
Overton entered promptly and thoroughly into that branch 
of law, and appears to have acquired the confidence as a 
land lawyer of those who knew him. Judge John M. Lea, 
now deceased, formerly of Nashville, a son-in-law of Judge 
Overton, tells us that while in Kentucky, young Overton 
often called into requisition as a land surveyor, the services 
of Daniel Boone who had founded Kentucky, and opened 

430 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

that great State to the entrance of the white man's civiliza- 

From Kentucky Overton moved to Nashville, where he 
arrived in the autumn of 1789, apparently with consider- 
able means for a man who had been a practicing lawyer 
for so short a time. Autumn of 1789 is the partially ac- 
cepted date, though disputed by some, on which Andrew 
Jackson arrived in Nashville; but, whatever the date of 
his arrival, he and Overton became friends at once, and 
both boarded with the Widow Donelson, the mother of the 
future Mrs. Andrew Jackson, and had their office and sleep- 
ing apartments in a cabin near the cabin in which Mrs. 
Donelson and her daughter lived. From 1789 to 1804 John 
Overton pursued his profession in Nashville, and down to 
that time he had held no public office whatever, except the 
position of Supervisor of Revenue, under a commission 
from George Washington. In June 1804, Andrew Jackson, 
who had been one of the judges of the Superior Court of 
Tennessee, resigned, and in July following John Overton 
was appointed in his place, and by that appointment start- 
ed a career as a judge that did not end until 1816. He held 
the position until the Superior Court was abolished by act 
of the Legislature taking effect January 1st, 1810, and in 
1811 he was appointed by the Legislature one of the Judges 
of the Supreme Court of Errors and Appeals, which suc- 
ceeded the Superior Court. He succeeded David Campbell in 
the Supreme Court of Errors and Appeals, and served upon 
that bench five years, until April 11, 1816, when he re- 
signed, and was succeeded by Robert Whyte, who was elect- 
ed May 22, 1816. While a Judge of the Superior Court, Judge 
Overton's associates on the bench were David Campbell, 
Hugh L. White, Thomas Emmerson, Samuel Powell, and 
Parry W. Humphreys. His associates in the Supreme Court 
of Errors and Appeals were Hugh L. White, W. W. Cook, 
and Archibald Roane. 

During his career on the bench Judge Overton is cred- 
ited through his opinions with laying the foundation of the 
Land Law of Tennessee. His decisions have stood unre- 
versed and as recognized authority since that time. All 
the authorities who write about him, eulogize him as one 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 43 1 

of the finest judges of that period, and agree that his opin- 
ions are characterized both by learning and ability, as well 
as the most patient care that he gave to every case that 
came before him for investigation and adjudication. His 
mental qualities seem to have been exactly such as to fit 
him for a judicial position, and, with it all, he was absolute- 
ly fair, just, honorable, patient, and courteous, and left be- 
hind him a name that his descendants can very justly boast 
of and applaud. 

All branches of law in Tennessee were in a formative 
period while Judge Overton was on the bench, and it is 
generally thought that the great burden of litigation was 
land cases, but this is denied by no less an authority than 
William F. Cooper, who was for eight years Chancellor 
of the Chancery Division in which Nashville, his home, is, 
and was for eight years a Judge of the Supreme Court of 
Tennessee, from 1878 to 1886. Judge Cooper edited and 
published a new edition of Tennessee Reports, and in the 
preface to this Edition, written July 6th, 1870, says : 

"The value of our earlier decisions, owing, no doubt, 
to the rarity of the volumes of late years, has been greatly 
underrated. 'There were giants in those days,' both at the 
bar and on the bench, and the important cases were argued 
with great ability, and usually decided correctly." 

"There seems to be an impression that our earlier books 
are filled with land cases, of great moment in their day, 
but of little use at present. This is a mistake, as will be 
obvious to any one who considers how small a part of our 
Digests, even of Mr. Meigs's admirable Digest, who lin- 
gered over these cases with a fondness that belonged to a 
past generation, is thus occupied. The number of land cases 
bears no proportion to the number of cases in other branches 
of the law. Besides, many of these cases, even where they 
turned upon points of purely local legislation, embrace ques- 
tions of practice, evidence and general principle still of 
daily use." 


In the first volume of Overton's Tennessee Reports, the 
following history is given of the different Court systems 
of Tennessee: 

"The first judicial system in this State, for the final de- 
cision of causes, was known as the District, or Superior 

432 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Court system, which went into effect in April, 1796, and 
was composed of three judges until the fall of 1807, when 
another judge was added. This system continued until Jan- 
uary 1st, 1810, when a Court of Errors and Appeals was 
established, consisting at first of two judges; afterwards, in 
1815, increased to three judges; again, in 1823, to four 
judges, and in 1824 for a few months, to five; then reduced 
to four again, which continued to be the number of judges 
until the courts were reorganized under the Constitution 
of 1834. During the entire period, with the exception of 
the period from 1831 to 1834, and subsequently under the 
Constitution of 1834, the judges were of equal grade, with- 
out any chief justice or presiding officer. In 1831 the Leg- 
islature Created the office of Chief Justice, and elected the 
Hon. John Catron, one of the then justices, to that posi- 
tion. By the Constitution of 1834, the court of last resort 
was styled the Supreme Court, and the designation is re- 
peated in the Constitution of 1870. Under the Constitution 
of 1834, the court was composed of three judges." 

The first and second volumes of Tennessee Reports are 
known as "Overton's Reports" — Judge John Overton, Jack- 
son's friend. But, as a matter of fact, Judge Overton did not 
publish these reports. They are in two volumes, the first 
having 535 pages, and the second 436 pages, and in the 
two there are 596 cases reported. The title of the volumes 
is as follows: "Tennessee Reports or Cases Ruled and Ad- 
judged in the Superior Courts of Law and Equity and 
Federal Courts for the State of Tennessee. By John Over- 
ton, late one of the Judges of the Superior Courts of Law 
and Equity, and now one of the Judges of the Supreme Court 
of Errors and Appeals in that State." In an advertisement 
prefixed to the report Thomas Emmerson, who was one of 
the Judges of the Superior Court with Judge Overton, makes 
this statement: 

"Having been presented by Judge Overton with the cases 
collected by him while at the bar and on the bench of the 
late district courts, the editor, in compliance with the earn- 
est and repeated solicitations of many gentlemen, both of 
the bench and bar, now submits a portion of them to the 
public in their original dress, deeming it unsafe to venture 
on any alteration, lest thereby a different view of the cases 
might be presented." 

Following this comes this endorsement: 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 433 

"We, the undersigned do approve of the publication of 
cases entitled 'Tennessee Reports, or cases ruled and ad- 
judged in the Superior Courts of Law and Equity, and Fed- 
eral Court for the State of Tennessee,' taken and collected 
by John Overton, one of the Judges of the Superior Courts 
of Law and Equity for that State; believing such a publi- 
cation will contribute in the highest degree to the peace 
and happiness of society, by ascertaining legal principles. 
(Signed) "David Campbell, 

John M'Nairy, 
Jos. Anderson, 
Archibald Roane, 
Willie Blount, 
William C. C. Claiborne, 
Ho. Tatum, 
Andrew Jackson, 
H. L. White, 
Samuel Powell." 

So came into existence the two volumes of Overton's 
Reports. Many years later an. Attorney General for the 
State was appointed, who printed the decisions of the Su- 
preme Court, and these printed reports now aggregate 
136 volumes, and they cover every phase of judicial opin- 
ion in the development of the State of Tennessee, beginning 
with pioneer days, going through the period of the Battle 
of New Orleans and of the Mexican War and of the Civil 
War, down to 1917, a space of one hundred and twenty- 
one years, during which years Tennessee has had three Con- 
stitutions, that of 1796, that of 1834, and that of 1870. 


But Judge Overton's career was not confined to the prac- 
tice of law or his services upon the bench. I have referred 
in the chapter of this book on Memphis to his being the 
founder of that city, and have there told something of that 
achievement on the part of him and his associates. Eminent 
as his professional and judicial services were, and lasting 
as will be his memory as the founder of Memphis, I hold 
to the opinion that future generations will place his niche in 
the temple of fame higher because of the fact that he was 
practically the discoverer and largely the developer of An- 
drew Jackson as a presidential possibility, and that he did as 

434 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

much to bring about the election of Jackson as President as 
any other one man in America, and that whatever of good 
Jackson accomplished for the American people, Judge Over- 
ton is entitled to participate in and share. 

The friendship between the two men began, as here- 
tofore stated, in 1789, when they both first came to Nash- 

I feel that the reader will pardon my quoting in full two 
very handsome tributes paid to Judge Overton by Colonel 
J. M. Keating, deceased, for many years editor of the Mem- 
phis Appeal, in his "History of Memphis" : 

"They were the complement of each other; they had 
settled in Nashville about the same time (1789) and were 
immediately drawn into a friendship as earnest and endur- 
ing as that of the fabled Damon and Pythias. When the 
fierce and vindictive opponents of Jackson invaded the sanc- 
tity of his home and attempted to besmirch the character 
of one of the most chaste, noblest, truest^, and most sensitive 
of women, John Overton, w'ith a reputation without a stain, 
and that had never been questioned, went to the aid of his 
friend- with the beautiful gift of a strong attachment, the 
sincerity of which had never been marred by a favor asked 
for, or received. He promptly defended Jackson, and in a 
clear and forcible statement attested the moral purity of 
his friend amid all the demoralization and temptations of 
frontier life, and bore witness to the purity of that wife, 
the loss of which left Jackson afterwards a bankrupt, in- 
deed. The friendship of these men for each other is one 
of the most touching episodes of. their time in Tennessee. 
Overton was a close student, loved books, and surrounded 
himself with all of those evidences of culture that are the 
resources of intellectual and refined natures. He was a man 
of the closet, Jackson a man of action. In the words of one 
who knew them well, 'each regarded the other as supreme 
in the role in which he essayed to act.' " 

Before his death, Judge Overton's loyalty to Jackson 
was such that he destroyed the hundreds of letters that 
Jackson had written to him upon every subject of public 
affairs, and he sent word to Jackson that he had done this. 

When the time came around for Jackson to be a candi- 
date a second time for the Presidency, Colonel Keating says 
this : 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 435 

"To be re-elected was to be endorsed by the people; to 
be defeated, was to be condemned. It was not, therefore, 
a time for men to play fast and loose, even in a little fron- 
tier town where the voters were few, and their effect upon 
the national destiny must be trifling, if anything. The 
force of example counted for much in such an emergency, 
and Overton, who was the first, perhaps, to mention the 
Presidency to Jackson, was determined, in the teeth of de- 
clining powers of mind and body, to second and sustain the 
man he admired, and to secure him the coveted endorse- 
ment of the people whom he had served with a singleness 
of purpose and unselfish fidelity. There is no other and 
similar example of friendship such as here laid bare, in the 
whole range of American history. Judge Overton was a 
man who, by right of ability and social position might have 
aspired to any place in the gift of the American people, 
but he preferred his friend, even to himself, and he spoke, 
and wrote, and worked for him to the latest day of his life." 

The most critical period in Andrew Jackson's career, 
after the Battle of New Orleans, was the investigation by 
Congress of his actions in Florida, which involved the exe- 
cution of Ambrister and Arbuthnot, and about which the 
politics of the day were hot and bitter. Henry Clay made 
probably the greatest speech of his life in his denunciation 
of Jackson in this matter, and then it was that Judge Over- 
ton came to the relief of his friend, and over the signature 
of "Aristides," published a very able defense of Jackson 
both under the law of nations, as well as the peculiar cir- 
cumstances surrounding Jackson in Florida. Jackson was 
triumphantly acquitted, but the efforts of none of his 
friends, in either the Senate or the House, approached in 
strength, power, cogency, learning, and ability, the defense 
made by Judge Overton. 

Having been triumphantly vindicated by Congress, Jack- 
son became even more popular than he had ever been since 
his victory at New Orleans. 

In closing this sketch of Judge Overton, I feel that his 
firm affection for Andrew Jackson should, if possible, be 
laid before the reader in his own words. To that end is 
quoted in full a letter by him to his nephew, who had 
accompanied General Jackson to Florida as a part of his 
family, and who, on account of ill health, had determined 

436 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee .History 

not to return to Tennessee. This letter has never been 
published but once, and that was in a paper on Judge 
Overton by Judge John M. Lea, read before the Tennessee 
Bar Association at its meeting at Lookout Inn, Chatta- 
nooga, in July, 1891. The letter is as follows: 

"Nashville, February 23, 1824. 

"My dear Nephew : Yours of the twenty-fifth inst. has 
been received, and I am gratified that you are regaining 
your health. 

"Our inestimable friend, General Jackson, is rising rap- 
idly throughout the Union. The Enquirer, of Richmond, 
has softened its tone, and admits that Jackson is the strong- 
est man of the South and West, and even the Intelligencer 
publishes short things in his favor. My dear young friend, 
you can judge how gratifying it must be to me in my de- 
clining years to reflect upon the course I have taken in 
regard to this man. Previously to the sitting of the Legis- 
lature in 1821, it forcibly st.ruck me that he ought to be the 
next President, and by proper means might be made so. 
To prepare the public mind, pieces were thrown out in Wil- 
son's paper. They were thought lightly of, but that made 
no difference with me. The Legislature met, and then I 
communicated to a leading member my views, which he 
gave into, communicated them to Grundy, who at first 
seemed a little surprised, but gave into the measure of rec- 
ommending him by our Legislature, which was done unani- 
mously. The resolutions were preceded by a speech which 
I wrote for a member. Caucusing was denounced, and 
Jackson's case put directly to the people of the United States. 
The Nashville resolutions I drew persevering in the same 
line of thought. They were well received, and followed step 
by step in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and even New York 
is now struggling to adopt the same. In all this I declare 
to you I never mentioned one word to Jackson. He knew as 
little about it as he did when his defense of the Seminole 
campaign commenced by the publication of "Aristides/ 
which arrested the impending fatal stroke. Thus it is that 
in all ages the real and sufficient causes of the greatest 
events are ever hid even from the impartial and scrutinizing 
historian. We commenced our career together, we slept, 
eat, and suffered together, and I always entertained the 
same view of his talents and character, and I have the con- i 
solation to think that I have never been mistaken in him. 
What opinion he entertains of me, I know not. I have my 
part to play, marked out, I believe, by Providence, and he 
has had his part, and it may seem strange, but it is true, 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 437 

that we have never consulted as to any preconcerted plans 
in all our lives. 

"We all want to see you, and rest assured that Jackson 
is nearly certain of being President. Your relation, 



The Legislature of Tennessee honored the memory of 
General John Coffee by giving to Coffee County his name, 
but this honor is known to but comparatively few people 
in Tennessee. General Coffee was worthy of a greater honor 
than having a county named for him, and it is not credit- 
able to Tennesseans that one of the finest characters in the 
State's history is rapidly progressing towards utter forget- 
fulness. In reviving the name and deeds of General Coffee, 
the Tennessee Historical Society, through its President and 
its publication, "The Tennessee Historical Magazine," is 
doing a great and patriotic service. In the December, 1916, 
number of the magazine, the letters of General Coffee to 
his wife, written in the years 1813-1815, with an introduc- 
tion by President John H. DeWitt of the Historical Society, 
are published, which bring vividly before us Jackson's cav- 
alry leader; and from this source and other sources con- 
sulted in making up this sketch, we learn some interesting 
facts of his life. 

General Coffee was a Virginian by birth, born June 2, 
1772, and died July 7, 1833, on his farm about three miles 
north of Florence, Alabama, where he is buried. His father 
moved from Virginia to North Carolina, and served in 
the Revolutionary War from that State. 

In April, 1798, John Coffee and his mother settled on 
the Cumberland River a few miles from Nashville, where 
he followed the occupation of merchant and surveyor. He 
was considered a well educated man for that day. He mar- 
ried Mary Donelson, a niece of Mrs. Andrew Jackson. This 
marriage naturally brought about a friendship between 
Coffee and Jackson, a friendship that never wavered down 
to Jackson's death. They were partners in business, but 
the venture was not successful, and in 1807 Coffee retired 
from the mercantile business and went back to surveying. 

438 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

On his marriage to Mary Donelson in October, 1809, Cap- 
tain Donelson gave his daughter a farm on Stone's River, 
in Rutherford County, and there they lived all through his 
military service, and until he left Tennessee and went to 
Alabama in 1819. While living in Rutherford County, Gen- 
eral Coffee was elected Clerk of the County Court of that 
county. Mrs. Coffee died in December, 1871, and was the 
mother of ten children : 

Mary Donelson Coffee (1812-1839), who married An- 
drew Jackson Hutchings; John Donelson Coffee (1815- 
1837), who married Mary N. Brahan; Elizabeth Graves 
Coffee (1817-1838); Andrew Jackson Coffee (1819-1891), 
who married Elizabeth Hutchings and was an officer in the 
war with Mexico; Alexander Donelson Coffee (1821-1901), 
who was first married to Ann E. Sloss, then to Mrs. Camilla 
Madding Jones; Rachel Jackson Coffee (1823-1892), who 
married A. J. Dyas; Katherine Coffee (1826-1881) ; Emily 
Coffee (1828-1829) ; William Coffee (1830-1903), who mar- 
ried Virginia Malone; Joshua Coffee (1832-1879). Alexan- 
der Donelson Coffee and William Coffee were officers in the 
Confederate Army. 

He entered military service in 1812. In 1806 he fought 
a duel with McNairy, growing out of his friendship for Gen- 
eral Jackson. His military career as a cavalry leader is 
one of the best to be found in the cavalry service of any 

During his military service he wrote many letters to 
his father-in-law, Captain John Donelson, which are pre- 
served in the Tennessee Historical Society, and were pub- 
lished in the American Historical Magazine for the month 
of April, 1901. Mrs. A. D. Coffee of Florence, Alabama, and 
Robert Dyas, of Nashville, General Coffee's grandson, and 
son of Mrs. Rachel Coffee Dyas, furnished to the Tennessee 
Historical Society the letters of General Coffee to his wife, 
Mary. These letters to his wife make delightful reading, 
and exhibit a brave, true, strong man putting upon paper 
his devoted affection for the wife and child, who plainly are 
to him the dearest objects upon earth. General Jackson said 
of John Coffee that he was a great military commander, but 
was so modest that he did not know it. Coffee's first mili- 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 439 

tary experience was with the Natchez Expedition in 1812, 
led by General Jackson, which was countermanded by the 
Secretary of War, and Jackson ordered to disband his troops 
at Natchez, Mississippi, which he refused to do, and marched 
them back to Tennessee and disbanded them in the City of 
Nashville. It was in the year 1812 that Coffee raised a 
troop of cavalry numbering six hundred and seventy of 
which he was elected Colonel, to go with Jackson's army. 
Coffee's regiment assembled at Franklin, and made the over- 
land route to Natchez, starting January 19, and arriving at 
Natchez February 16. We feel, in studying the life and 
career of General Coffee, like we were taken back to the 
Homeric age when men of great size and physical strength 
and dauntless courage were actors, and whose deeds great 
blind Homer has sent down to us more than two thousand 
years, and which we to-clay admire as greatly as did their 
contemporaries. Coffee and his cavalry were the ever relia- 
able right arm of Jackson ; they never failed, they never 
quailed; at command they were up and moving, and never 
stopped until the conquest was complete. Seeing him in 
action, one would be moved to cry: 

"This indeed is Ajax, 

The bulwark of the Greeks!" 

That Jackson loved him, and he loved Jackson, history 
amply proves. In a letter to the author dated December 
6, 1917, Robert Dyas, the grandson above referred to, says: 


"Dear Sir: 

"My friend, Mr. DeWitt, has sent me your letter of De- 
cember 1st, and it gives me pleasure to answer your in- 
quiries to the best t of my ability. 

"A copy of Colyar's Life of Jackson is not available here, 
and I do not recall whether the epitaph of Gen'l Coffee is 
quoted correctly or not, but my impression is that it is. In 
a few days I can send you a correct copy, but I will have 
to write to Florence, Ala., for it. 

"General Coffee's monument stands in the family bury- 
ing ground about three miles north of Florence — it is in a 
perfect state of preservation — and I will also send you a 
photograph of it. 

440 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"Yes — General Jackson wrote the epitaph. I have in 
my possession the original in the handwriting of the Gen- 
eral himself. I cannot tell you the circumstances under 
w r hich it was written or just when, nor can I say just when 
the monument w r as erected, but I presume it was done 
shortly after his death. From many papers in my posses- 
sion it is very evident that the two men were dose per- 
sonal friends before the occurrence of the stirring events 
that gave such fame to both, and before General Coffee 
married a niece of Mrs. Jackson. It is to be presumed that 
this close personal friendship and intimate association led 
to the writing of the epitaph. As an evidence of the great 
affection General Coffee had for General Jackson, two of 
his children were named for the General and his wife, An- 
drew Jackson Coffee and Rachel Jackson Coffee. 

"General Jackson willed to Andrew J. Coffee the sword 
presented to him by the city of New Orleans, and you have 
no doubt read the will. His admonitions to the young man 
are well worth re-reading just at this time when such stress 
is being laid on patriotism. You will be interested in ex- 
amining the original on file in Davidson County. 

"Anne Royal published 'Letters from Alabama' in 1818, 
and the only copy I know of belongs to Mr. J. S. Walker, 
of Nashville. He has let me have it for a time, and it is in 
a safe in Florence just at present. No doubt he will be 
glad to let you have it if you so desire. I will return it 
in a few days. 

"If I can assist you in any way it will give me pleasure 
to do so when called on. 

"Sincerely, Robert Dyas." 

We would like very much to know when, and how it 
came about, that General Jackson wrote the great epitaph 
on Coffee's tombstone. We can imagine no finer tribute 
that he could have paid the old cavalry leader. 

"Sacred to the Memory of 


Who departed this Life 

7th day of July 1833, 

Aged 61 years. 

"As a husband, parent and friend, he was affectionate, 
tender, and sincere. He was a brave, prompt, and skillful 
general; a distinguished and sagacious patriot; an unpre- 
tending, just and honest man. To complete his character, 
religion mingled with these virtues her serene and gentle 
influence, and gave him that solid distinction among men 

Tomb of General John Coffee near Florence, Alabama. 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 441 

which detraction cannot sully, nor the grave conceal. Death 
could do no more than to remove so excellent a being from 
the theater he so much adorned in this world, to the bosom 
of God who created him, and who alone has the power to 
reward the immortal spirit with exhaustless bliss." 

We would also like to know the personal appearance of 
the man as an acquaintance might describe him, and fortu- 
nately, we have just such a-description by Anne Royal, in a 
book written in 1818 from Huntsville, Alabama, and en- 
titled "Letters from Alabama." Mrs. Royal says : 

"Last evening I had the pleasure of seeing the